Be The Change

Many people wish things were different. It’s easy to point fingers at policies, practices or people that we feel need some improvement. Most people like to use the words “Me” or “I” when there’s something good to take credit for, but how often do you hear someone use those same words when it’s time to take responsibility for something that needs to be corrected? Seriously, next time you’re in a meeting (we all sit through plenty of them), listen closely to the speaker. Take mental note of how often the person that’s speaking takes personal responsibility for any of the weaknesses of the organization. Keep a second scorecard for how many times this person shares the credit for any successes in the organization. I promise you that both scorecards will be near zero. 

“He suggested I try and model the behavior…”

I remember vividly a time while I was in college that I was fed up with the general sloppiness of my college roommates. I went on a short rant about it to an older, wiser friend of mine. Over the course of our conversation he asked me if I exhibited the same behaviors that I had observed and was perturbed by. Honestly, I hadn’t thought about it… He suggested I try and model the behavior I wished to see before addressing anything through conversation and see if it made an impact. Within a couple weeks, our household was very different and no difficult conversations needed to take place. There is power in change. True change for the better does one of two things: It either inspires people around us to also change, or it makes clear those that are unwilling to change and further action can be determined at that point in time. 

“It’s quite within the realm of possibility for YOU to be the catalyst of change”

How does this apply to business? Change starts with individuals. Transformation of a culture within a business does require the change to come from the uppermost ranking managers. However, perhaps there’s a culture of general inconsideration in your office, or a competitive environment that is unhealthy (some friendly competition is quite healthy in the workplace). It’s quite within the realm of possibility for YOU to be the catalyst of change. Pointing the finger, or placing blame tends to be the easier (albeit ineffective) way to address issues in the workplace. The less common (yet more effective) way to spur change is to start with you. I have now served in many leadership capacities – as office manager, project manager, plant manager, business manager and now General Manager. In my role, I have the option to mandate rules, policies, etc. (and don’t get me wrong, policies & procedures are healthy and necessary in the proper context). However,  I have found that the most effective way to change a culture is to model the behavior I wish to see. – JT3