It’s the System

Recently in a workshop, a participant raised a very interesting question. She said that it seemed like the leaders of her organization had brought TRP training to the staff for the purpose of helping individuals improve themselves, but that they seemed to be avoiding more significant challenges with regard to productivity and outside systemic problems over which the participants in the workshop had no control. She wanted to know what could be done about those problems. This is not an uncommon question.

One answer is to ask a question in return: “How can we as a group, Department, section, etc. of this organization better deal with the systemic challenges over which we appear to have no control? As victims? Or as TRPs?”

One approach to this problem might be illustrated to us by the civil rights movement. There were enormous cultural and legal barriers to racial equality. Many of the civil rights groups, especially those led by Martin Luther King, Jr., utilized concepts similar to TRP to train their demonstrators. For example, in Nashville, in preparation for the sit-ins, legions of college students were trained to respond, rather than react, to the abuse they were about to be subjected to. The organizers and facilitators had adopted the principles of Mahatma Gandhi regarding nonviolent resistance. These were taught to the students as documented in that wonderful video series, A Force More Powerful.

We would like to hear your views on how you would handle and approach attempts to change the system in a TRP way? What has worked for you? Can we approach the system without allowing ourselves fall into the victim consciousness?

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