Last weekend I attended a regular monthly meeting of the Organization Change Alliance, and listened to a presentation by the COO of the Atlanta Community Food Bank, Rob Johnson. Rob discussed his experience with Asset Based Community Development, or ABCD, a methodology that blends organization development theory with improvement of the community at large.
Rob listed the following basic principles of ABCD:
- Focus on Gifts: Every person and group (and community) has existing gifts and abilities – social capital or assets – that can be identified and used to build from within stronger communities.
- Associational Life: Groups of people voluntarily coming together to make a difference (vs. systems of well-resourced professional services) are more likely to provide a critical sense of care, belonging.
- Power in Our Hands: Sustainable community improvements occur when citizens – not waiting on professionals or elected leaders – discover their own power to act and begin producing their desired future.
It was fascinating stuff, which opened my eyes to a use of change management techniques that I hadn’t considered before. It also creates interesting possibilities for “grass roots” organizational change.