The Tree of Alignment 2.0: An Ecological Metaphor for Transformative Change

Inspire to Change
5 min readJan 8, 2024

By Nora F. Murphy Johnson, PhD

This article is part of our series on understanding the Tree of Alignment as a Theory of Engagement.

Just two months ago, I unveiled the Tree of Alignment (ToA) in my inaugural article — a metaphorical yet practical framework integral to our Theory of Engagement at Inspire to Change. This innovative concept was designed to nurture environments ripe for meaningful and enduring transformation. Since its introduction, I’ve had the privilege of employing the ToA with numerous clients, and the response has been tremendous. Guiding them through this framework and its application in their unique contexts has yielded swift and profound insights. These interactions have not only affirmed the framework’s effectiveness but also highlighted areas needing further refinement and depth in my understanding.

Staying true to my commitment to sharing my thinking as it unfolds, I’m excited to share with you the evolved version of the Tree of Alignment, reflecting the latest insights and enhancements.

The Modifications

I’ve made some modifications. They aren’t drastic, but they are important so I want to call out each change individually.

  1. “Conditions for Transformation” has evolved into “Conditions and Capacities for Transformation,” recognizing not just the environment but also the inherent capacities required for change and to better align and integrate with a second important framework we use, the Togetherness Practice.
  2. “Core Strategies” has been expanded to “Core Strategies and Strengths,” to emphasize the integral role of inherent organizational and personal strengths in driving change.
  3. I’ve introduced “Context and Community: Ecosystem Dynamics,” a critical element that ties the transformation in social realms to the growth and interdependence found in natural ecosystems.
  4. A new component, “Context and Community: Ecosystem Dynamics,” has been added, drawing a more explicit parallel between social transformation and the growth dynamics in natural ecosystems.
  5. The link between transformation in the social realm and tree growth…

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