We have heard some interesting and powerful quotes about change. Some of the ones that stand out for me are:

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”
― Leo Tolstoy

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

But as I was reflecting on my experiences both in the work setting and personal space, I just felt that the below image captured human behaviour in the context of change.

Image courtesy of: https://www.torbenrick.eu/blog/change-management/change-management-comic-strips/

The image above captures visually some of the frustrations that I have encountered working with various teams and leaders in different organisations. As a Change Management Specialist, it’s so amazing how many organisations and leaders can say all the amazing and ‘right’ things about how much they believe in change as block one of the image illustrates.

But block two of the image is where you able to separate the sheep from the goats. It’s shocking how people will say all the right things about wanting to change and improve their environments, but as soon as that very change requires them as individuals to change, suddenly people begin to resist. It’s easy for people to want everyone else to change and the environment to change but they themselves are unwilling to change. I suspect that the reason why many projects/ideas that pertain to change don’t always become successful is this issue. Imagine this, if we have an organisation of 50 people and 48 of those are thinking in the above manner, surely nothing will change because you are waiting for the next person and the next person is waiting for the next and so forth.

Block three of the image is perhaps the most eye watering, again some in leadership positions will say the most beautiful things about change, but when you want to engage them further so that they play a leading role in advocating for the change, they are MIA! (Missing in Action).

Simple examples include leaders who don’t respond to your emails, leaders who don’t make time to come to meetings where key decisions need to be made, leaders who play the blame game instead of coming up with solutions, leaders who are constantly “busy” sitting in meetings but with no value add, the list is endless.

I think we can come to a common agreement that anything that doesn’t change eventually dies. Even in our own lives it is eye watering to see how many people say they believe in change but do nothing to improve their lives. There are even instances where change knocks on people’s lives because it’s such an inevitable process and yet still people resist.

I don’t think we should view believing in change as a feel good ‘mantra’. Even in the political scene everyone will be chanting about the ‘dawn of a new day’ when new reign of power ascends the stage. But I am always left in wonder post the charismatic feel good speeches and I always want to truly know, does this leader really believe in change. And the Yes answer doesn’t fully satisfy me. I think most people will relate and say over and above the yes, can we see leaders taking accountability for the things they have said, can they practice daily that which they preach? can there be less elaborate talk and more elaborate action?

You see my friend the proverb remains relevant even today – “Action speaks louder than words!”