One of the newsletters I receive is the W.I.N. Newsletter.
This newsletter builds on the theme from last week ‘Investing in Yourself’.
“There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them.”
At conferences and presentations I often hear the comment “How come the people that need to hear this message aren’t here?” Infact at my first legacy of Excellence Conference I heard this comment a number of times.
I have given this question a great deal of consideration over the years and have come to this conclusion: the people that need to hear the message are there. The people in attendance are generally the ones who are interested enough to invest the time and energy to attend. They are the ones with an interest in the subject matter and in every case have the capacity to be change agents in their organizations, if they are willing to accept the challenge.
Mahatma Gandhi said “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” The challenge for all of us is to reflect on this quote and ask ourselves “Are we the change we wish to see in our organization?”
For change to happen each of us must first accept that initiating change is our responsibility. At every conference or presentation there is information that has the potential to improve our organization. The question is what do we do about it? Do we take what we have learned and find ways to implement positive change, or do we take the easy way out and complain that the people that need to hear the information are not in attendance?
I have been involved in developing and delivering training for law enforcement professionals since 1989. It is my experience that the changes and improvements in training in areas such as incident command,officer safety, subject control tactics, crowd management, report writing, strategic communications, mental preparation and conditioning and most other areas have all been bottom up driven.
Change started at the grass roots level of the organization because of people who identified the need for change, were passionate about the need for change and cared enough to find a way to make change happen. I have seen this in organizations of all types and of all sizes.
“Never doubt that a small, group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
In previous newsletters we have talked about Coach Wooden and his successes as the basketball coach at UCLA as well as his success as a teacher and a mentor for young men. The book “You Haven’t Taught Until They Have Learned” by Swen Nater and Ronald Gallimore is an examination of John Wooden’s teaching principles and practices. This book looks at how Coach Wooden’s practices and principles apply to more than just basketball. At the end of the chapter entitled ‘It’s What You Learn After You Know It All That Counts’ there are some thoughts by Coach Wooden that I feel are very relevant to this newsletter. Coach Wooden talks about teachers fostering a norm of continuous teaching improvement and has some valuable pieces of advice, which can be transferred to those striving to implement organizational change:
– Find like-minded colleagues to form a team willing to work on improving classroom teaching and student learning.
– Do not permit what you cannot do to interfere with what you can do.
– Avoid the tendency to look for quick fixes. Coach Wooden is quoted as saying “When you improve a little each day, eventually big things occur…. Not tomorrow, not the next day, but eventually a big gain is made. Don’t look for the big, quick improvement. Seek the small improvement one day at a time. That’s the only way it happens — and when it happens, it lasts.”
The challenge then is to find others within your organization that also want change and work together to accomplish this. In your quest to form a team of change agents and implement change here are a few tips from my experience:
– Avoid those that Kevin Gilmartin refers to as the whining, sniveling malcontents. These are the people that can always tell you what is wrong with the organization or the plan, but never have a solution and will never take action to make things better. They will also try to convince you that nothing will ever change.
– Find people who are committed to the long haul. Change is often slow, but it is worth the effort.
– Do your research and build a solid business case for the changes you wish to make.
– Learn to put yourself in other people’s shoes and sell change to them based on why it is important to them, not why it is important to you.
“One person can make a difference. You don’t have to be a big shot. You don’t have to have a lot of influence. You just have to have faith in your power to change things.”
Norman Vincent Peale, Clergyman
If you find yourself saying “I know some people who should be reading this.” Please go back to the start and reread this newsletter. For everyone else it is up to you to accept the challenge, take action and be the change you want to see in your organization.
CEO (Chief Excellence Officer), Winning Mind Training Inc.
Editor W.I.N. Critical Issues in Training and Leading Warriors and W.I.N. 2: Insights into Training and Leading Warriors www.warriorspiritbooks.com
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