Praxis: Leveraging Action for Effective Change

Archimedes speaking on the concept of leverage said:
Give me a place to stand, and I shall move the earth.

The Seven C’s of Community Organizing are about identifying and acting strategically on points of leverage. Effective community organizers and cultural activists may act on multiple levels simultaneously while always keeping in mind that key to long-lasting change is to act at the right points of leverage … the lower the level, the more effective the action. The most effective strategies for change leverage the first levels (Consciousness, Confidence and Communication) with targeted action that set in motion changes at subsequent levels. Too often much energy and effort are spent on unsuccessful attempt to leverage Collaboration (e.g. via community events and projects) into Cooperation and Culture without first creating a foundation of Communication and Connection – both of which take time and are more personally risky (that’s where Consciousness and Confidence come into play). Collaborations on their own often collapse over time without Connection among the stakeholders. Collaboration doesn’t really last without heart. With heart, Collaboration is a celebration of accomplishment – true Cooperation! Culture without heart isn’t.

1. Consciousness
A true awareness and understanding of one’s strengths and weaknesses is the foundation of acceptance of one’s self. With that acceptance can come …

2. Confidence
Confidence is the foundation of curiosity and the willingness to explore new ideas and alternative paradigms without existential fear. Exploration beyond one’s self often takes the form of …

3. Communication
Confident people are willing to reach out to engage others to learn and grow.
Communication leads to deeper understandings of others. Understanding leads
to acceptance that opens pathways for the next step …

4. Connection
Connections come once people communicate and truly listen to others.
People connect when they share visions and dreams. Connections
create excitement and motivation for …

5. Collaboration
People who connect enjoy doing things together and making things
happen. Collaboration builds experiences of success that form the
foundation of trust. With trust, people working in groups can let
down barriers creating opportunities for …

6. Cooperation
Cooperation is collaboration plus trust. Cooperation is a key
element of music, of prosperity … and of peace.

7. Culture
Culture is the social framework created among people via
the six previous steps. Culture becomes the bond that leads
to healthy and sustainable communities.


Copyright 1994, Mark Westwind – All rights reserved.