It is time to Stand for Change! As I write this, Barack Obama is four days away from his inauguration as president of the United States. He ran on a platform of Change and Hope. Today’s leaders also need to think about hope, action, and change.
Today, as reported in the New York Times, he again talked about change, returning to the now familiar theme. “It’s not too late to change course, but only if we take dramatic action as soon as possible,” Mr. Obama said, speaking to workers in a suburb of Cleveland, pitching his economic recovery plan.
I think many business leaders can relate to the need for transformative change that calls for quick dramatic action. The challenge is not to forget that this type of change requires first that you “be the change,” as one of the Obama’s campaign posters says. This means being a role model and an advocate of change. It also means to be able to convey the urgency of the need for change, and to enroll the collaboration of the people around you. A tall order!
Transformative change also requires to boldly “Stand for Change.” Some times it is a lot easier to maintain the status quo than to sound the trumpet for change. But when a leader recognizes a need for change, he would be remiss to his responsibilities if he did not take a stand for change. Taking a stand is more than talking about it. It requires to develop whatever mechanisms are needed to facilitate the plan and implementation of change.
How is all of this possible? Through an open dialogue with all stake holders in which there is talking, but also listening; dreaming, but also well crafted action planning; optimism and hope, coupled with realism and learning from past mistakes; individual responsibility and concerted collaboration. Only then we can achieve “Change we can believe in!”