Maintain critical distance from your organization

The goal in understanding your organization is to get close enough to really understand how it works without losing your critical distance or your desire to change it.

So often, I’ve had the conversation, “This needs to change,” “Here’s how that happened” “Cool, it needs to change” How it got that way is valuable context, but it’s not rationale for the status quo continuing.


Mintrom, Michael. Policy Entrepreneurs and Dynamic Change . Cambridge University Press, 2020.

Structures outlast individuals; change happens through the interplay of broad institutions and the people working within them. p. 26

In this approach, it’s essential to understand the mechanisms by which change actually happens (or not). p. 26 You have to be able to get close enough to understand the detailed workings without getting so close that you lose your critical distance and desire to change it. p.27