“Change is inevitable, but transformation is by conscious choice.” Heather Ash Amara
We live in a complex, rapidly changing society, and it presents challenging times for leaders to navigate successfully. Finding common ground for teams to work together is essential. Who can deny that the social and political landscape is in transition, and the long-term social changes resulting from COVID-19 remain to be seen.
Leaders are tasked with understanding the current trends and making difficult decisions in the rapidly changing times in which we live. The changes we are seeing are transformational, which means many of the norms we are accustomed to will be fading into history. Transformation isn’t something strange or rare; every generation grapples with societal change to some extent.
Leading people into the future during times of uncertainty requires intentional efforts; leading into a season of societal transformation requires a paradigm shift. Helping navigate the changes ahead requires collaborative efforts to accomplish significant positive objectives.
Seeing the Future Now
“There is no fundamental social change by being simply of individual and interpersonal actions. You have to have organizations and institutions that make a fundamental difference.” – Cornel West
Social transformation is a shift in the public consciousness; this can happen on a local or global level. Personal and societal vision values and customs are being revisited and refined. Transformations are seen organically from generation to generation, or occasionally they are intentional.
People can become unsettled during seasons of transformation and want to feel safe and have some assurance about future opportunities. Leading into the future during such times requires an all-in response to a compelling vision.
A compelling vision will always include something new, requiring a willingness to go outside our comfort zones. If we want to be doing things we’ve never done, we must be willing to become what we’ve never been – that’s transformational. The compelling vision we’re reaching for moves everyone to test the limits of their current capabilities.
“There is immense power when a group of people with similar interests gets together to work toward the same goals.” – Idowu Koyenikan
Courage to Transform
“All social change begins with a conversation.” – Margaret J. Wheatley
Many innovative leaders are emerging on the scene, filled with vision and new ideas that will challenge many to go beyond their comfort zones’ current limits. Raising a collective awareness for the need to enact changes requires community buy-in. Numerous meetings facilitating meaningful dialog are the cost for obtaining consensus. Positive transformation begins with small group discussions one table at a time.
On community transformation, John C. Maxwell says, “For the last nine years, my nonprofit organizations have used this awareness to change the way they do things. They have made values-based training the centerpiece of community transformation by gathering small groups of people around a table—or in a small circle—to discuss and share the values they are learning and putting into practice. We have come to call these small groups transformation tables. So far, 1.3 million people have sat around 200,000 of these tables, and the positive changes we have seen are amazing.”(1)
Vision and Values
“When you know what you stand for and where you’re going, you have a greater chance to rally people to your side” – John C. Maxwell
Before you can lead others, you must be clear about your vision and values because they are the foundation for your leadership. High values, concrete standards, and integrity impact our thinking, shaping our conversations.
Values-driven leaders own their vision and communicate it with a high degree of clarity. Nothing brings people together like a compelling vision and well-thought-out strategy. Sarah Clayton says, “Few things are more important during a change event than communication from leaders who can paint a clear and confidence-inspiring vision of the future.”
Dr. Myles Munroe writes, “Our lives are in a constant state of transition. Life is always moving forward; nothing ever remains the same. Even those who live essentially quiet lives are affected by change. To a greater or lesser degree, we are continually being transported—whether suddenly or gradually—into the new, the different, the unexpected, or the untried.”(2)
“The wings of transformation are born of patience and struggle.” Janet S. Dickens
(1) John C Maxwell, Rob Hoskins, “Change Your World” (p. 131). HarperCollins Leadership. Kindle Edition. (2) Dr. Myles Munroe, “The Principles and Benefits of Change “(p. 13). Whitaker House. Kindle Edition.
*** This article was authored by John Picarello, Chief Leadership Officer at Lions Pride Leadership Co.***