People who Change the World
People who change the world are like everyone else except they do something. They are moms, dads, men, women, young, old, rich, or poor. Some are educated – some not. Race isn’t the issue, either.
People who change the world all begin at the same point – the point where you may be today. “They all seemed to start out as critics,” Beverly Schwartz, author of, “Rippling.”
You’ll never change anything until you’re displeased with something. All leaders change things but the dark side of change is distress, disappointment, disgust, dissatisfaction, and displeasure.
The power of criticism is you become like the critic you listen to. People who change the world say, “…Yes to themselves.” Schwartz. The courage to change things begins with the courage to not like things.
People who change the world always do the next thing. “They took the next step and did something…” Rippling.
4 qualities you need:
Schwartz says people who change the world, … All, at a minimum, possessed four inherent qualities:
- Purpose allows inspiration to replace fear with action.
- Passion kindles and nourishes a “follow ones heart” courage.
- Patterns that become models and guides for others to follow.
- Participation by others who believe, follow, and join. They think boldy, act locally, and scale globally. They possess “ego-limiting ownership” that gives place to others.
The steps to changing the world begin with saying yes to yourself and move to gathering participants.
Beverly Schwartz, in Rippling, has explained and illustrated the path all leaders follow to effect radical change. My favorite parts of the book are the beginning and end where Beverly lays out the qualities and strategies for effecting change.
What are the qualities of the change agents you know?
Excellent qualities Dan.
A quality that I might add is discernment. Change agents need to be able to figure out if they are dealing with a people or a process issue. Most of the things that we are trying to change are deeply entrenched, and we need to know which part of the root is causing the real problem. For onstance, it does no good to set up new policies and procedures if you haven’t sold the people on the “why” they need to change, and “how”they are going to get it done.
Wonderful comment. I can tell you understand the intricacies of being a change agent.
Beverly has material in her book about seeing patterns as well as creating patterns.
Solving symptoms is a quick fix. Addressing causes changes things over the long haul.
I see wisdom and experience behind your words.
I appreciate the qualities mentioned to become change agent. I would like to add some more to it. Vision, concerns and passion to achieve that vision. Vision is about what do you see the future. Concern is about the things that worries you and passion is the intrinsic driven force that drive you to achieve those concern. I also believe that change agents are ordinary human being who believe in simplicity and humanity. They are the people of words, integrity and actions. For them success is not about getting position but creating climate where everyone succeeds. The great change agents are created by odd circumstances and context. Those who possess everything perhaps unlikely to become effective change agent. So, circumstances plays a major role to either make or break change agent. Over and above, it is the character and ability of the person that make him or her a good change agent.
Thanks for joining the conversation. I always get something from your comments.
I love your observation that those who have everything they want probably won’t be change agents. It’s pretty hard to remove pain from the equation.
Best to you,
At the simplest level, change agents don’t complain about a problem; they act on a problem.
And they dont change for the sake of change.
Good point Bonnie, a lesson I have learned in life, “There are no problems, only solutions”!
So true Bonnie. Great seeing you again. Best, Dan
Love, Love, LoVe today’s post… it really has me pumped! Ok, where to begin?
First, “People who change the world all begin at the same point”. So true, the point of being completely over the ho-hum complacency of things.
Additionally, your paragraph about criticism reminds me of the song “I’m not high maintenance- just low tolerance” by Anita Renfroe! lol
Lastly, the qualities of change I have personally experienced are, like you said, first having the courage to not like things the way they are, but then to actually come up with solutions and ACT on them. Many people are disgruntled, but don’t do anything except voice their frustration. Just as faith without works is dead, a voice without works is dead. Complaining about something and not doing anything about it is meaningless. I’d say that courage and action are two very important qualities of change, and synonymous of each other in order to accomplish change.
Thanks for sharing your passion. It’s fires me up!
I’m to the point that I listen to disgruntled people and sympathize… BUT, if they aren’t willing to act – to get skin in the game – I ignore what they said, unless I clearly see value from my own point of view.
Life is too short to talk w/o action!
I used to manage a team of staff. We would have daily brief stand-up meetings before work. At one point, I had to be away for a few weeks and the meetings continued in my absence. When I got back however, the team had invented “Rant Fridays” where in addition to discussing the day’s work you could rant about whatever was bugging you – work or otherwise. I allowed this to continue with one exception. If you want to rant, you had to say what you were going to do about it!
I like it Sparky, you get to rant, but you have to act too. Course there might even be a place for a once a month ‘Vent Wednesday’ where you don’t have to act, just vent. 😉
We’ve had a couple whining Wednesdays here on Leadership Freak… maybe it’s time for another??
John Kotter’s 8 Steps to change begins with “Urgency”. No one takes steps of change unless urgency is present. In my experience, until the pain of staying the same is worse than the pain of change, it doesn’t occur. So here is the challenge in changing the world. Creating a sense of urgency – why the change is even necessary. So begin there… accept the passion to initiate the change and be ready for the fire (resistance) in communicating the urgency to others.
Great movie/illustration – “the Power of one” involves a young man who has the chance to teach literacy in Africa. When asked what change he could really create he says “A waterfall begins somewhere with one drop of water…” Be the drop people… and merge with others to become a powerful force.
Very encouraging comment. Thanks for brining Kotter’s work to the conversation. Nothing gets done without a sense of urgency.
A good learning post. Liked the comment that you’ll never change anything until you’re displeased with something.Yet, a creative mind works for better always. One need not be dissatisfied but one has to be an innovator to change the existing things.
It’s the matter of a creative mind with regular habits to do things differently. The quest for new knowledge with experiments and adding confidence factor would change the reality situation into new wonders for the world to cherish in future.
I term it as ‘Excellence through Newness’.
Dear Dr. Asher,
Love the idea of “do things differently” and “Excellence through Newness” well said.
Thanks for adding value.
Great post, Dan. I guess it is stating the basics but I think another component of what makes people want to change the world is the ability to see outside themselves. As a parent, I have always tried to make sure my kids know what else is out there in the world. Not that I’ve always succeeded but it’s part of my plan! I think as leaders in the workplace (and in life) we can do the same thing ….. keep our eyes on our specific work/life goals while maintaining awareness of the ways all of our threads weave together.
Thanks for the good word.
Your comment reminds me of part of my conversation with Beverly. She changed jobs and too a pay cut in order to engage in a more global activity. See the big world and then jump in!
The beauty of technology is we can all impact people all over the world. Two years ago, I would have laughed if you said I would have a global reach…but today, we have Leadership Freaks on every continent except for Antartica. Who would have thought??
Thanks for joining in today.
I remember a book called “who moved my cheese” its story have a same concept 🙂 thank you for this articke
Thanks for the good word, Wibi and for reminding everyone of a useful resource… cheers, Dan
tenacity. i watched Amazing Grace, the story of Wilberforce and his campaign to end slavery in Great Britain. All your principles would apply, but I was most impressed with the fact that he did not give up. thanks for your post!
Hi Andrea, and thanks for adding tenacity to this discussion! Best, Dan
Hey, very palatable post today, enjoying the comments.
Wonder if the list of 4 qualities, purpose, passion, patterns and participation are in a perceived priority? (Sorry bout that.) If so, wonder if passion should be first. Seems like it to me.
Finally, in another moment of wonder coupled with the first law of thermodynamics… with purpose, is inspiration replacing fear or is it actually converting fear with action?
So with the above in mind, as far as other qualities of change agents, they themselves need to be catalytic or catalyticists. (well it could be a word someday!)
You’re comments are one of the reasons people partake of my pabulum, probably.
Beverly grappled with the issue of passion/purpose. In the book she acknowledges they go hand in hand. You’re perceptions are perfect.
I’m think Bev’s approach is purpose overcomes fear. Petrified people remain P-stuck! (sorry)
I can’t pronounce catalyticists … so it isn’t a word .. 🙂
And whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world. – Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:5; Babylonian Talmud Tractate Sanhedrin 37a. That’s a quite old saying, isn’t it?