Understanding Change At A Systems Level

You are not going to make much progress with your watch until you understand change at a systems level. A watchman should not be in the business of handouts. Handing out food, clothes and holding seminars for people are very nice gestures, but it does not deliver sustainable change. Watching your world is deeper than calling the attention of people towards taking personal responsibility for themselves. In the real sense of it, you are to take responsibility for the overall direction of the companies and institutions that define your world. Anything else amounts to “kicking stones” around while the mountains remain unmoved.

There was no way handouts or taking personal responsibility would have helped the black people who were born into slavery in the eighteenth century. They needed slavery as an institution to be abolished, and then they were empowered to take charge of their own affairs. The genius of Moses was not the ten plagues that struck Egypt or miraculously feeding millions in the desert. The real genius was that he created a system – institutions that could keep things going after he transitioned. People in slavery do not need daily bread or shiny new toys, they need a new governance structure.

There is something genius about the final charge Jesus gave his disciples as recorded in the Book of Matthew, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”. He was not asking them to simply preach, teach and heal. They had to build a system, an institution around their ideology. You have to adopt a similar mindset in your work. You should not be busy holding seminars or handing out relief materials that you forget to build and maintain institutions. Your world will be completely transformed if you focus more on building systems, institutions, schools and companies that are self-sustaining. Handouts are not sustainable or useful in the long-term.


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