Change has become a perennial issue. It has become so popular, it functions like a “mantra” – people frequently mouth or pen the term – but it has ceased to mean much more than suggesting that the speaker or writer is “with it.” Here’s what true leaders know about change. Leaders know:
- Things are changing all the time.
- Most of the changes that swirl around us are not within our control.
- Who people are – because that is a function of a whole bundle of habits exercised every moment of every day – is a primary source of resistance to change. We will most likely be tomorrow what we are today. And for that to happen, the world tomorrow has to be reasonably like it is today.
- That to attempt to change the world – which would require people to change – is the most dangerous and uncertain undertaking there is.
- That it is the appeal of the alternative leaders describe, that makes any significant change possible.
- Change won’t occur unless it is necessary.
- That systems in which people are embedded are fiercely resistant to change because they are tacit, accessible only by habits of belief.
Leaders understand that they are wholly interdependent with the forces that resist change, and with the forces that enable change. All this because leaders don’t make change. They midwife it.
– Lee Thayer