Large-scale problems require paradigm-shifting change processes. Whether facilitators are tackling climate change, organizational transformations, poverty reduction, or ecosystem degradation, they must be capable of partnering with others to lead fundamental shifts rather than simply surface-level fixes. For more than a decade, I have worked with and studied the capacities required for leading this kind of change, culminating in my graduate work in global change management, in which I interviewed successful pioneers in this work in the US and Germany.
These pioneers helped me formulate responses to four questions:
- How can we enable people to enact fundamental change?
- How can we liberate the enormous possibilities that global change processes offer?
- How can we change ourselves in order to be authentic when facilitating these paradigm-shifting processes?
- How can we shape our organizations toward higher performance?
This paper characterizes the sum of these responses as “paradigm-change facilitation,” a body of work aimed at identifying, illuminating, and accessing the inner stances and core abilities that allow us to realize transformational processes together. Although this process is highly specific to each person and situation, this paper generalizes the steps and provides specific reflections to improve your ability to lead fundamental change rather than working just on surface-level fixes.