What to Do When the Door to the Status Quo Opens Slightly

There are times when you manage to open the door to the status quo ever so slightly. By status quo, I refer to those organizations and institutions (foundations, big budget non-profits, universities, government ministries, health systems, police departments and so on) who have power and resources to back up their perspective and mandate.

Don’t be deceived. Just because you have been able to make your point, disrupt an event, draw a line in the sand, seize the opportunity or get the attention of the status quo doesn’t mean that things will change in your favour. Even if you catch it unaware.

One of the core competencies of the status quo is its ability to withstand disruptive solutions and criticisms. To enshroud them. To round off their sharp edges. To isolate them. To rationalize maintaining things the way they are.

It may seem that you have made inroads. The status quo may even give a little bit.

That dear friend is just the whisper of a beginning. Depositing the issue on their doorstep is not enough and pretty well guarantees a solution you will not like. No matter how much they may like to, status quo organizations and institutions take their cues from the past. Even to the point of rolling back the gains you have made. The status quo has a long memory.

For this not to be the case you must walk through the door that is now slightly ajar (thanks to your efforts) and engage with the very people who you think are the cause of the problem. Who you have accused of being privileged and insensitive. Who you don’t trust and who you are certain you don’t like. This will be harder emotional work than you have ever done before.

Particularly since most representatives of the status quo see themselves as contributors to the solution you are seeking.

Now isn’t that a delicious paradox to chew on?



Reposted with permission from aletmanski.com. Home page image: di_collins



About the Lead Author

Al Etmanski
Al Etmanskihttp://www.aletmanski.com/
Al Etmanski is a community organizer, social entrepreneur and author. (www.aletmanski.com) (@aletmanski ) His latest books are Impact: Six Patterns to Spread Your Social Innovation and The Power of Disability: 10 Lessons for Surviving, Thriving and Changing the World. He is a faculty member of the Asset Based Community Development Institute (ABCD), an Ashoka fellow, senior fellow Social Innovation Generation and Co-Chair of BC Partners for Social Impact. Al is co-founder of Planned Lifetime Advocacy Network (PLAN), a family run social enterprise assisting families address the financial and social well-being of their relative with a disability, particularly after their parents die. He proposed and led the successful campaign to establish the world’s first savings plan for people with disabilities, the Registered Disability Savings Plan. John McKnight endorsed Al's book Impact by saying: Impact is a chronicle of the wisdom Etmanski has gained in exploring the keys to long-term social change. His findings lead us out of the past and onto a pathway for progress in the 21st century. Once describing Al as an Abundant Community Pioneer, Peter Block wrote: Al Etmanski is one of North America's best social inventors. He has looked beyond traditional institituions and their failures to create new means of achieving a better life. His analysis of the forms of organization that enable local communities while avoiding rigid hierarchies is groundbreaking. His book A Good Life is a wonderful and practical guide to the potential for neighbors to grow strong through the power of hospitality. Michael J. Fox said of Al's latest book, The Power of Disability: This book reminds us of what we have in common: the power to create a good life for ourselves and for others, no matter what the world has in store for us.

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