Embodying the Change You Seek in the World: 5 Modes of Field Leadership

Uncategorized Oct 06, 2021

Chances are the change you envision in the world is bigger than you are. 

So many of us with a calling to make the world a better place see a future that is better and different, but more than we can bring about on our own.   So, if there's a change you want to see in the world and many people are not yet embracing that vision, what can you do about it?  This post is about field leadership--sharing 5 different ways you can show up to help bring about lasting systems change by positively engaging and influencing others. 


New Ideas Have to Jump the Chasm: The Innovation Adoption Curve

An important starting point lies with research on how innovations of all kinds tend to spread across a society.  The "innovation adoption curve" shows that there is typically a chasm between innovators and early adopters and everyone else--innovations that truly sweep through a society have to jump that chasm and attract support from the majority.



What Does it Take to Jump that Chasm? 

Taking action takes a lot. We have to stack up the knowledge (what to do) with the skills (how to do it) and the mindset (the desire to do it). Understanding where the biggest barriers to action and belief are on the issues we care about is a key starting point if you want to inspire others to action.


 Your JOY Really Matters, Especially When It Comes To Influencing and Inspiring Others

When you're trying to lead change and inspire others to action, you really want to be in an evolutionary or even a self-transcendent state of mind.    These states of mind ultimately stem from trusting that you can be flexible and adaptive enough to overcome any obstacles to meeting your own ego-driven needs, freeing you up to focus your highest and best self on maximizing your service to something larger than yourself.


What is Your Model for Engaging Others? Are You Truly Open To Being Influenced By Others' Ideas?

It's very important to be open to being influenced by others--not just trying to persuade others of your ideas.  One of the most powerful moves you can make as a field leader is to open yourself up to others' point of view.  Put yourself in the perspective of whoever is on the other side of the innovation adoption chasm.  Look for a way of co-creating a solution that more people can really buy into--get into the green zone of collaborative problem solving!


5 Modes of Field Leadership

 What larger contribution is trying to happen THROUGH you and your work as a change agent?  Here are five ways you can show up to encourage, inspire and engage with others to create something larger than any one of us? 

  1. Exemplar:  you walk the walk and let your actions speak for themselves
  2. Thought Leader: you share your ideas, learnings and vision in a deliberate, public way
  3. Convener: you bring others together to create “reference groups” invested in new ways of seeing, doing and working together
  4. Trusted Advisor & Coach: you help others align knowledge, skills and mindset to take action
  5. Self-Transcending Servant of Systems Change:  you go all in backing others as they shift power and systems on their own terms

These levels are not necessarily a sequential progression, but whatever level feels like a comfortable fit for you right now, I urge you to reach at least one level beyond that comfort zone.  Field leadership is  a crucial way that we can truly accelerate change in a world which so desperately needs reinvention.  Change starts with you, and that change starts within.


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These are the same materials we use with the social entrepreneurs in our accelerator program and the funders we coach one on one.  The world has never been more in need of a new, greatest generation of change agents and that's why we're opening up free access to these materials to anyone who's ready to make use of them!