Reflection 2


Over the last number of years I've engaged Paula Downey / dya in a number of 'conversations' and approaches in relation to professional development. My experience has been an extremely positive one and particularly in regard to helping me find paradigms through which to better understand the challenges I face at work.

dya’s ability to show how our perceptions and understanding of the dominant ‘story' can have the effect of imprisoning us has made a real and tangible difference to how I view the world of work. Their skill in helping to 'contextualise' my work has been invaluable, and has allowed me to more fully understand the extent to which so many people are struggling with crises - in their institutions, with values, and in the disconnect between their world of work and the 'bigger picture'.

Here are some reflections on my experience of this approach to change:

  • Taking a systems perspective has had a quite profound impact on how I approach my work. I now know that's it ok to make things up as I go along. I know that we cannot 'control' things - we can only 'prod' the system, safe in the understanding that the system evolves on foot of these prods. I know that information is key to this - and so it must be shared.
  • I appreciate the importance of communication and developing 'shared understanding'. Many of us are working to break down 'them and us' mentalities, because whether we want to acknowledge it or not, most or maybe even all of us are grappling with the same challenges (everything is connected to everything else in the system) and it is only by understanding each other better that we can make any significant progress.
  • The vast majority of the change most of us are trying to bring about requires paradigm shifts (both within those who are responsible for leading the change and within those who are likely to be affected by it) or changes in culture. The two most important change tools are firstly open communication and secondly, simply being the change you want to see. In other words just going and doing things differently.
  • When you’re working to change culture or challenge the dominant ‘story', certain characteristics are needed, including perseverance, a commitment to creativity and innovation, self-confidence, and an appreciation of the importance of building relationships.

Probably the most powerful thing I've taken from working with dya, however, is affirmation. Their commitment to and rootedness in an ideological and value-driven approach to change really resonates with me and acts like a well from which I can draw inspiration and commitment from time to time. The challenge for me, then, is to be brave and get on with the business of being the change I want to see.


Reflection 1
on embracing the chaos of change

Reflection 2
on the transforming effects of a systems perspective

Reflection 3
inspired to attempt big change

Reflection 4
the systems ‘lens’ - a breath of fresh air

Reflection 5
the relief and challenge of working systemically

Reflection 6
on creating internal cohesion on a large scale

Reflection 7
on learning from different perspectives

Reflection 8
from ‘fixing what's broken’ to ‘listening to patterns’

Reflection 9
confirmed and inspired by our own work

Reflection 10
really facing up to the challenge of change

changing the way
you change