When you’re driving change, you’ll want to remember this quote:
Improvement is doubly difficult when individual habit is reinforced by group inertia.
It comes from the Navy Correspondence Manual and it’s referring to writing official letters, memos and recommendations. But, to me it means so much more.
Say you’re the first person in your work team, civic organization or company that chooses to drive change instead of drive people to change. Will it be easy to drive change?
Will you feel pulled by the behavior of others around you to stop focusing on wins and removing obstacles and instead spend meeting after meeting blaming those “others” who won’t change?
But, just because it is doubly difficult doesn’t mean it’s impossible.
Some days it’ll feel like a solo battle and others there will be an army (no Navy disrespect intended) with you.
Try instead this affirmation:
Improvement is doubly possible when individual habit shows the group where new inertia will lead them.
Be the new inertia. Show the others around you what’s possible.
Write better if you like (Chapter 3 of the Correspondence Manual is a great place to start).
Drive change if you’re willing.
You’ll love both…I promise!
Powerful organizations adore the status quo, so expect no help from them if your idea challenges the very thing they adore.” Seth Godin
from Random Rules for Ideas Worth Spreading
C.S. Lewis said,
Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive.”
When you’re driving people, your best-intended coercion is still coercion.
Are you being a tyrant about your change?
Why not try changing your focus to enabling the change (instead of enforcing it) and see what happens?
Experience tells me you’ll be more successful with your change. At minimum, at least you won’t be a tyrant anymore.
Unless you like being a tyrant. Do you?
If you do, why are you reading this blog?
This week’s quote comes from the speech, The Forgotten Man, given by William Graham Sumner in 1883.
The Forgotten Man…delving away in patient industry, supporting his family, paying his taxes, casting his vote, supporting the church and the school…but he is the only one for whom there is no provision in the great scramble and the big divide. Such is the Forgotten Man. He works, he votes, generally he prays–but his chief business in life is to pay…Who and where is the Forgotten Man in this case, who will have to pay for it all?
When you’re driving change you have no forgotten man. You have answered the question, “Who will have to pay for it all?” and found no one. Pay in the sense of be taxed (physically, emotionally or financially) against his will to create your change. Your changes are not unfunded mandates, impossible to follow rules or zero tolerance policies. When you’re driving change you’re not forcing a decision, you’re offering a choice, welcoming all who would like to join your cause.
The Story Continues…