“We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change.” – Mahatma Gandhi
Gandhi is attributed with saying, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” It turns out he didn’t actually say that, but it’s not a bad simplification of what he did say. Gandhi knew that change is difficult, at times even overwhelming, and pragmatically, he knew two things:
- The only change over which any human has control is changing himself, and
- If you don’t start with changing yourself, it will be impossible to help others to change.
As a leader, managing change, especially today’s near-constant change, is a continual challenge. How do you become adept at assuring you are able to get out in front of change and lead it confidently?
If you want to ‘be the change’, it’s good practice to begin by learning how to assess your own need to change, and then to establish good personal behavior change habits. Personal change is no easier than organizational change. It’s a slog and can at times feel defeating. As a leader considering your own change and that of others, it’s important to remember that it’s a process, not an event:
It’s equally important to have a plan for your personal changes.
But ‘being the change’ is more than just changing ourselves. Leaders need to know how to help others through change. The first question to ask yourself is whether you and your organization are really ready to take on the change:
and certain that you aren’t overdoing change in your organization:
Knowing that change is a near-constant occurrence in today’s world, part of your role as a leader is positioning change as normal:
How leaders communicate during periods of change is a critical factor in helping people through change. How do you best play out your leadership as change occurs?
Leaders who are personally comfortable with change, who prepare for it thoughtfully, and who address the needs of those impacted by it are the ones who instill in their organizations a change agility that becomes a competitive advantage.
Written by Marge Combe, VMC Consultant
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