Culture change can occur when a majority of people decide to do things differently. I won’t focus on discussing this reason for change, since these will tend to occur frequently without much of our directed effort.
Changing culture can also occur when a minority of people decide to do things differently. This minority must be more vocal and forceful than if a majority were to attempt to enact the same change. It is this type of culture change that I will focus on, for this is where a lot more of our effort is required.
First, something needs to be identified with opportunities for improvement. Not every change is an improvement, but every improvement is necessarily a change. Trying to improve some aspect of a culture will necessarily call for change from those within that culture. Proposed change is almost always met with resistance.
So who is going to identify something that can be improved? This proposed change from within a culture must start from the finest minority of that culture: an individual, a Single Player.
It is up to a Single Player to be able to identify and decide that a culture change is required to improve. This is done in spite of what the majority is used to, regardless of what everyone else is saying and doing. A Single Player does not know yet of others who think similarly, who together would be a minority. But if a Single Player chooses not to attempt the improvement themselves, then similarly other like-minded Single Players might choose not to attempt the same improvement.
It is the responsibility of a Single Player to be more vocal and forceful than other players who have no preference, and even more so than other players who prefer to not change. As Single Players, we will find ourselves in this position frequently.
Being able to maintain a minority position on subjects where the majority is either apathetic or negative towards our proposals; this is the strength that is needed.
This is a matter of force of will, of endurance against fatigue, of burdening, of shouldering weight and blame, and of vigilance against our own urge to give up.
This is a matter of being labelled a “Lone Wolf”, of being isolated, and of being ridiculed.
This is a matter of being criticized by many more eyes than our own, where one misstep can send our credibility into the dumpster.
This is a matter where we think we’re improving things for the betterment of all, but others think we just want to change things for our own personal benefit.
How do we combat this in one instance? Can we combat this over multiple instances? How long will it take for us to break? When will we succumb to the inertia of the mass majority?
I think that most easy improvements can be covered by the majority. People will get it right, eventually, hopefully, if they are actually collaborating. But besides the lower-hanging fruit, do we see other ripe opportunities for improvement? These kinds of higher-level improvements would address things closer to the root cause rather than just surface level symptoms. These kinds of improvements often solve or make unnecessary a lot of the lower hanging problems, freeing up more resources for working on other problems. It’s these kinds of improvements that are needed so that we can do better, so that we can Win more, because we need to Win more.
There may be a time when it becomes normal that the majority will drive for improvement with the same emphasis as a focused Single Player. Until that time comes, there will be many losses. As a Single Player, do we stand by and just watch these losses as they occur? Or can we do more? And what can we do more of?