Stories don’t just have the power to engage, they also have the power to inspire change. One of the ways in which they do so is through what is known as model participation. When people see something that inspires them, they want to be a part of it. When you are leading change, you must be the change or demonstrate the change you desire before you tell people what they must do. This adage has continually proven helpful as my colleagues and I have helped organizations align their employees around new initiatives and best practices. Here’s a quote that has always inspired me in my work:

“Instead of criticizing where they stand, move to a better place and invite them over.”

We must shine a light on what is good, what is going right or that which is the desired form of behavior in the new state of being. In addition to being a great way to lead change in an organization, I’ve learned that it can be a great way to inspire change in our communities as well through an on going project of mine called the Filmanthropist Project.

The concept here is exactly the same. In fact, it is the Filmanthropist Project model that inspired me to bring that concept to inspire change in a corporate organizational structure. Now in it’s third year, the Minnesota-based project invites novice to experienced filmmakers to find and document stories of philanthropy and good work in their community and submit those stories for inclusion in our annual screening and awards program. People are literally shining a light (be it a camera light) on their desired future state of their community by finding the story of someone that embodies those values they wish to carry forward to others. And it is a moving project to witness first hand. We’ve had more than 50 entires in our first two years and the screening events spark conversations that are carried forward. The subjects of the films and their good works are celebrated and supported in a way that would not have been possible had those stories never been documented or shared in such a public and celebratory way.

Now let’s switch forums for the model. Your community is now your organization. The citizens are your employees. Who in your organization is demonstrating the model behavior of where you wish your organization to be headed? How are they embodying your organizations core values of goodness and how are they making them real everyday? Are there stories you could tell about people who are doing the good work you aspire everyone in your organization or community to be doing?

Once we begin to share these stories of those who are on the front lines of leading positive change, we just might find a growing crowd of supporters and change evangelists following immediately behind them.

And that’s how change begins.

For more information about the Filmanthropist Project view the video or visit the website below:


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