We live in uncertain times, and society doesn’t operate with the same rules they did in the past. Leaders are, by default, change agents. By this, I mean they represent the face of change within their organisations and they also have a significant role to play in championing positive change.
“By changing nothing, nothing changes.” – Tony Robbins
A leader who fears change is inevitably going to miss out on opportunities that others, who champion positive change, take. Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne could not guarantee that those long hours in their garage were going to be successful in making a marketable product that people need or want. They saw an opportunity, and instead of holding off on account of fear they seized the day.
One should remain cautious of change, but open-minded as to the opportunities it may present. Some change may not be, or appear to be, desirable. It is the role of leaders to solicit information which will enable them to determine whether engaging with a particular change is in the interests of their followers, their organisation, and society at large.
“The best thing you can do is the right thing; the next best thing you can do is the wrong thing; the worst thing you can do is nothing.” – Theodore Roosevelt
Making the right decision isn’t always easy, but it is the ideal. The fear of making a bad decision is natural in good leaders, as they do not want to let down their followers, themselves, or the organisation which they represent. However, a leader who chooses not to latch onto positive change is providing a disservice to their followers and themselves. The option which is the best action today, may not have been the best action yesterday, and may not be the best action tomorrow.
The fear of failure guides the actions of many, but it should not. We live only short lives and choosing to make fear manipulate us leaders into making no decisions is one of the biggest mistakes we can make. Failure happens, and we deal with that. We fail when we stand idle.
Could you imagine if those opponents to the internet succeeded in stopping its invention? Or if Sergey Brin and Larry Page wanted to organise information on the internet, but were too fearful to lose the $100,000 invested into their start-up? I for one, am glad these great leaders were successful in overcoming their fear of change. I also assume they are happy they took the leap.
Rosa Parks sat, and Martin Luther King Jr. stood against racism and made positive change globally because of their actions.
“I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.” – Michael Jordan
I wouldn’t stand in front of bus when it was roaring towards me. I would, at the very least, step aside. A good leader would look at that bus as an opportunity to do something better. Perhaps it will pass by an area we must go, so the leader flags it down and jumps aboard. Making the most of change is an excellent way to succeed not only in personal life, but also in the professional.
So, next time the forces of change comes soaring towards you, don’t stand in its way. That will be to your own detriment. Assess the change and the endless possibilities associated with it. Strive to deconstruct and unpack what the change contains and how you, as a leader, can make the most of it.
*Image by Uprooted Photographer