Engaging

My experience of advocating change in the food system has taught me the absolute importance in engaging with people. You have to be in this for the long haul. In engaging with people, you identify those who want to work alongside you, and not just talk.

There are many models for engagement. A model appropriate to guide a change from industrial to sustainable food systems is New Zealander Peter Cammock’s 3Es model (from the book The Dance of Leadership). Central to the model is the dynamic between the processes of envisioning, engaging and enacting.

Notice that Peter Cammock uses “envision”, rather than “vision”. This implies that the vision evolves through engaging and enacting. The vision may have originated with, or been adopted by the leader, but it is an organic vision that can grow an adapt as the engagement process happens. It is said that people own what they create, and if they have input into the vision, they are more likely to engage with it.

The three-step model elaborates to 10 steps. Good leaders follow this process naturally. They know when to talk, they know when to roll their sleeves up and get involved, and they can zoom out and zoom in to see the big picture as they need to.

Engagement is at the heart of the model through the processes of connecting, listening and engaging, team building and networking and communicating.

camock envision engage enact

The 3Es model of change (Cammock, 2003)

Identifying good practice in sustainable food systems internationally helps in “seeing the whole” and “clarifying purpose”. The next step is to return to step one to “connect” and move through the engagement process. Those who engage will expand the envisioning process.

Leadership and change

The 3 Es model exemplifies leadership of change. Leaders is in there helping people to create shared vision and working with the willing. Everyone can lead!

These models are simple and accessible. People understand them quickly and are able to implement them in simple leadership roles. It is preferable to quickly learn simple models such as these and put them into action, rather then take on lots of theory. The corollary of this is accepting that everyone can lead and the need for leadership is everywhere, from leading oneself to global change.

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