Change?

Most Leadership Consultants / Self-Help Gurus premise their inspiration on CHANGE. Change who you are; what you do; how you do it .. & so on. The thing is that’s simplistic, at best, misleading, most times, particularly in the business space.

Here’s what you’re not told. If you’re not ‘re-birthed‘ then most of the ‘changes‘ you implement are a window-display of who you are anyway under different stimulation / motivation & nothing more. That’s a little disturbing, not so? Then again I suppose you could take a sabbatical and spend a year or two chanting atop the Himalayas, eating berries, collected sparingly of course and yes, you might enjoy a ‘rebirth‘ of sorts; at least that’s what you’ll tell us when you get back down to planet-real. That’s fine and your mode of discovery is not necessarily my mode of travel but that’s not exactly practical for the rest of us though is it? BTW: – on the om thing; have you really changed much or have you just dug a little deeper into the fabric that is you in the first place. My guess it’s more digging – less metamorphosis.

The best & worst book I’ve ever had the good fortune / misfortune of reading was handed to me by the then CEO at the annual company- ‘team-building‘ conference. Is there anything more useless or less-useful than ‘team-building‘? The book entitled ‘Who moved my cheese?’ by Dr Spencer Johnson [1998] is profoundly ineffective but annoyingly true in context and possibly the most deeply disturbing ‘CHANGE’ narrative you’ll ever read. Read it if you must; don’t if ‘profoundly ineffective‘ is more useful to you than ‘deeply disturbing’ might be.  Either way this is the lesson in a few paraphrased words – ‘If you don’t keep pace with change; you’ll get left behind..’ Fair enough.

‘If you don’t keep pace with change; you’ll get left behind.’ or something along those lines… In context that makes perfect sense of course. If employees don’t embark on a lifelong program of Professional Skills Development then, quite obviously, they’ll lack the skill-set to participate meaningfully in their chosen industry / profession for any length of time.

If you don’t keep pace with change; you’ll get left behind.’ applied, as it was in our case, to the individual, rather than the employee, is noteworthy in many ways. In our case ‘Who moved my cheese.‘ targeted us as individuals [‘team building‘..?] rather than as colleagues. We were encouraged to collectively contribute to the company’s future growth and success. I remember a great deal of resentment at the time. ‘Change who you are‘ to ‘keep pace with the job‘ was considered derogatory and in that context fell on deaf ears.

Nobody, to a person, wanted to be told that they had to CHANGE to meet a standard. An imposed standard was considered, rightly I think, as nothing more than a moving goal-post; an unintended insult & deeply divisive. That’s not leadership.

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