This is the twentieth in a series of posts that will examine ten insights Community Wealth Partners has uncovered through our research of and experience with initiatives that have created transformational social change.
For social change agents who have achieved transformational change, they spend the majority of their time this way. They are continuously observing, engaging with, seeking to understand, and learning from their external environment and the many stakeholders who are critical to the advancement of their cause. They deeply understand their social change market and how all the stakeholders who are part of it work in concert to affect social change.
Understanding this market, of course, is not enough. It’s what the social change agents do with the information that makes them successful. They use it to guide decision-making. They use it to capitalize on opportunities to advance their cause. They use it to adapt and change, as appropriate, to ensure that all aspects of their work are relevant to the interests and needs of their stakeholders and environment.
Here are a few questions you might want to ask yourself to assess how well you’re living in the market:
- Have you been caught off guard by changes in your social change market?
- Have you capitalized on current events and trends to advance your cause?
- Have you changed or recalibrated priorities in light of changes in your external environment?
TIP: If after answering these questions you realize you need to do a better job living in the market, set a new year’s resolution to spend a specific number of hours on it each week. You might spend this time reading journals, newspapers, or blogs relevant to your cause; visiting with stakeholders, both with those who are effected by the social problem you’re working on or who can affect it; or observing the behaviors and interactions of your stakeholders in various settings.