Intentional change in transformative communities
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Community enabled transformative change is usually portrayed as a collective endeavor. Too many times this collective lens prevents communities from understanding that support groups are as much a platform for the collective as it is for personal transformation. This non-dual perspective can be represented by a moebiüs string in which both systems-level and personal transformations are, in effect, the same. This tool will help communities purposefully support individuals in intentional transformational processes.

Description of the tool

This tool is informed by Richard Boyatzis’ Intentional Change Theory (ICT) as well as the experiences and remixes from self-managed, co-owned and decentralized organizations such as Enspiral, Gini and others. These organizations share a variety of practices, tools and rituals that assure a peer supported stewardship of individuals’s growth. Not so formal or even informal communities can adopt some of these practices to support the formation of stronger networks. Since the seventies scholars, organizations and support groups have been using ICT to understand what leads to lasting change. ICT is a multi-level theory that helps predict sustained desired change for dyads, teams, organizations, communities and countries. The “change” one makes may not just be in behavior, it also may be in a person’s habits, competencies, dreams, or aspirations. It may be a change in perspective, how someone looks at events in their life or how they feel in certain situations. The basis of ICT is based on “the five discoveries”: The ideal self and a personal vision The real self and its comparison to the ideal self resulting in an assessment of one’s strengths and weaknesses, in a sense a personal balance sheet A learning agenda and plan Experimentation and practice with the new behavior, thoughts, feelings, or perceptions Trusting, or resonant, relationships that enable a person to experience and process each discovery in the process

Steps of application

This process shown below is a remix of the ICT process by Natalia Lombardo to be performed and supported by a group of people (Support Circle).  The primary role of each of the members of the Support Circle is to serve as the ‘Personal Board of Trustees’, helping each other throughout the process, providing a safe, supportive space for reflection and growth and to facilitate self-directed learning journeys.  The process begins with the exploration of values, purpose and passion to create the personal vision, life and career aspirations. The following meetings will focus on discovery of strengths and developmental opportunities to create each person's learning plan - learning goals and action steps. In later sessions, the focus shifts to implementation of the learning plan and sustaining learning and development.   Importantly ICT focuses on creating the right balance between positive and negative emotions (a balance from 3:1 to 5:1 is the ideal for sustained change), the exercises and sessions are created to help the person maintain that balance, focusing on what they want for themselves and focussing on one or two skills to improve at a time.   The process can be partially restarted again in an iterative process, reflecting on the Ideal Self and Real Self mapping to create new learning goals.

Sessions Plan:  

Session #1: Overview Check in Provide an overview of the process Personal desired outcomes Discuss call frequency, schedule next session Introduction of the Values and Influential people exercises to be done before Session #2  

Session #2: Getting Started Check in Share the ‘Values & Influential people’ exercises - Discuss: ‘How was doing the exercise? What did we learn about yourself?’ Introduction of the Passion, Purpose, Ideal exercises as preparation for Session #3  

Session #3: Ideal Self Check in Share ‘Passion, Purpose, Ideal’ exercises  Share any reflections Introduction of Personal Vision exercise as preparation for Session #4  

Session #4: Personal Vision Check in Share “Personal Vision” exercises Share reflections Introduction of Mapping the Real Self exercise to be done before Session #5.  

Session #5: Real Self Check in Review of “Mapping real self”  Begin exploration of developmental priorities: “what skills do you wish to develop?” “What do you have energy to work on now?” Introduce Learning Goals as preparation for Session #6  

Session #6: Developing a Learning Plan for Change Check in Review “Learning Plan” discuss Learning Goals and action steps  Discuss strengths and developmental opportunities, ‘how can we help each other? What other people can we reach out to?’  Commit to starting with one of the learning goals as preparation for Session #7  

Session #7: Implementing the Learning Plan Check in Discussion of activities since last session Personal evaluation: ‘what worked well? What was challenging? What do I need to change?’  

Session #8: Care Pod Retrospective Check in Group evaluation/retrospective - Looking back at our time together, what worked well? What didn’t? What can we improve/change moving forward?

Discuss the future of the Pod, ‘do we want to continue?’ If yes, set up a new call frequency and schedule the next session. Discuss new format for calls.  

Exercises Guide: Session

1: Introduce Values and Influential people  

Session 2: Introduce Passion, Purpose, Ideal  

Session 3: Introduce Personal Vision  

Session 4: Introduce Mapping the Real Self  

Session 5: Introduce Learning Goals


This tool is to be used along all the movements presented in the Prefigurating Utopia framework.

Context of origin

Visual representation