Saturday, June 11, 2016

On Leading Change

We talk a lot about leading change in the agile community. Some of us are even in positions where change is a major portion of our job description whether we are change agents, change artists, or just plain old coaches. We want to change practices, behaviors, mindsets, and often entire cultures. Unfortunately, I rarely hear about change in the context of changing ourselves.
"It's not my job to make them better.  It's my job to make me better."
One of the most profound things that's been said to me about leadership and change is the following koan: "It's not my job to make them better. It's my job to make me better." This short phrase holds so much wisdom. I've been unpacking it for years, yet I'm sure it will continue to provide insights for years to come.

If I can continually work to be a better engineer, a better manager, a better learner, a better person, if I strive for probity, then change will happen within me and around me. Because change leadership is not about making followers. It's not about instilling or inculcating or impressing upon others. Real change leadership is about being worthy of emulation.

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