An important United Nations environmental conference went past 6:00 in the evening when the interpreters' contracted working conditions said they could leave. They left, abandoning the delegates unable to talk to each other in their native languages. The French head of the committee, who had insisted on speaking only in French throughout the week suddenly demonstrated the ability to speak excellent English with English-speaking delegates.
A lesson in bringing about true changes of mind and heart comes from a Japanese functionary. By day, he crunched numbers that showed his country was approaching imminent energy crisis and helped to craft policy. By night, he weaved a novel in which a bureaucrat-hero helps see the country through to new energy sources. When the crisis came faster than he expected, he actually put the novel away because he did not want to make the burden of his countrymen worse. When the short-term crisis passed, he published his novel. It's phenomenal and well-timed success fueled the vision that inspired difficult change and maintained a sense of urgency.
The author points to the impact of what he called Dutch disease, where the discovery of found wealth from a particular commodity causes a culture to atrophy with respect to work ethic and broader development. Continuing wealth from the single commodity is taken for granted. The government, flush with wealth, is expected to be generous. When the price of that commodity drops, a government which would remain in power dare not cut back on this generosity.