“And that’s how upstream victories are won. An inch at a time, and then a yard, and then a mile, and eventually you find yourself at the finish line: Systems change. Be impatient for action and patient for outcomes.”~ Dan Heath
The above quote refers to systems change. Systems are used as a way of leveraging strengths to improve over time. Systems thinking allows you to learn from mistakes and focus on overall improvement. In other words, systems are a way of engaging in continuous improvement over time. The Michigan Integrated Continuous Improvement Process (MICIP), defines a system as “a series of interdependent and aligned processes and people working together toward a common goal to bring desired results.” MICIP’s definition references desired results. In Heath’s quote above, he states, Be impatient for action and patient for outcomes . . . or, desired results. Are these connections coincidental? Nope.
Systems change does not happen overnight, and with that being said, we need to start. “Change won’t come without action. At the same time, it can take a while for action to bear fruit” (Heath, 2020, p. 234). Systems change begins with the first step. As Heath’s quote above states, “An inch at a time, and then a yard, and then a mile, and eventually you find yourself at the finish line: Systems change” (Heath, 2020, p. 235). How long are we willing to wait while actively pursuing this change? Perseverance and resilience come to mind. How might we maintain a sense of urgency without letting frustration prevail?
Knowing that the Blueprint framework is a systems-based approach to continuous improvement, how might this framework support you to be an upstream thinker?
The Leader’s and Teacher’s Corner sections will support you with deeper thinking around You, Upstream.