Hope is not lost - I felt a huge movement yesterday afternoon.
The CEO part of the IMA 2007 conference closed last evening with a remarkably frank discussion of what we all have to do to make progress. I am now much more hopeful that the "System" will organize to do the work.
There was solid agreement in the room that progress was too slow and that only if a group of people were taken off their day job and given the task of leading the work, would Public Media keep its relevance, survive and most importantly - thrive.
I felt an implicit contract being signed in public as all the key leaders in the system in effect made a promise in public to change up the gears and to organize for success.
I was especially moved by a some who spoke who talked about their own personal motives. Their hope that their children could live in a free, democratic and healthy place. Their commitment to civic society and to democracy. Their commitment to having their people's story told.
For me, motive and hope is the key to change. As Alan Deutschman shows us in Change or Die, being told you are going to die - the substance of much of what we heard in the last 2 days - is not the great activator for change that we think it may be. 90% of seriously at risk patients do not act on their doctor's advice.
So why don't we change, even if we know that if we don't we will die? To make a big change - to think web versus terrestrial, to think collaboration versus me alone - often means to change our identity. If our identity and our personal story is attached to these things, then in 90% of the time we would rather die than change the identity that we had come to rely on. We martyr ourselves for this identity. This is what is the real barrier.
What Alan reminds us, is that to make deep change - to acknowledge that the web will supplant all the work of our lives - that we are not under attack from our peers that we have to work with each other in public media - we have to have Hope.
We have to have a process that works with this fear of changing our identity. Such a process has to have the following elements. We have to have a mission that pulls us forward. We have to to have peers that believe in us - even when at first we don't believe ourselves. Think AA. We have to experience the early wins so that we can feel that the new is better than the old. Not read about why it should be better but feel why it is and early. We have to keep experiencing the new way of experiencing the world for years. For at least 3 years. Only then can we re frame our identity.
Ideas do not change us. Only experience changes us. Changing experience has to be deep and repetitive to change the habits of a career.
This is what I see as the mission of the group when it is formed. It will have to provide
- A compelling mission - hope and a call that activates our hearts and our courage and that calls millions of Americans to help not just of us in the system. My sense is that we know what this and I will post later on what I think it must be
- Changing positive action - people is the system have to see parts of the new that are better and then they have to experience this for themselves
- Support - people have to have the support of their peers - constant and loving support of others who have made and are making the same struggle
- The process has to take time - we are changing habits. Only a new habit can change an old one. It will take about 3 years to ingrain the new
- Only then can we inhabit a new word.
More later on the mission and the pull