Sunday, May 9, 2010

"The only person who really likes change...

.. is a baby with a wet diaper." Unknown

This is one of my favorite quotes about change, because while it is true that there are a few rare individuals who embrace change, the reality is that most of us find it challenging at one level or another. My experience is that even those who say they like change have something that they prefer you not mess with and most of us prefer change we instigate rather than change that is imposed upon us. After all, it is one thing to change something I want to change. It’s another thing entirely for you to tell me what I have to do differently!

But every organization will face imposed change at some time and at some level so there are important leadership tasks involved with both leading and responding to change. Those tasks vary. There are times when leaders understand the need to change before the rest of the organization’s members. There are times when the leader is asked to implement a change whether or not she agrees. There are times when a leaders needs to listen to constituents who are resisting change, not because they are recalcitrant, but rather because they are raising important issues that need to be considered. Which means the most important leadership task is to determine the best response to the particular situation, and that of course, is always the leader’s job and is often the most difficult task of all.

Times of change call for sensitive and creative leaders, leaders who work to set aside their own concerns and focus instead on the good of the organization and its members, leaders who listen well and are not afraid to make decisions and choose a path. Times of change need leaders who are willing to make the toughest change of all – a change in themselves and their habits. This leads me to another favorite quote, this one from Gandhi, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” As with so many thing, change begins with each one of us.

Good luck and take care,


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