We all have it: pocket change. It is the leftover amount that goes into our pocket or pocketbook. Where it goes from there, who knows.

Pocket Change LeadershipPocket change is never core to a major purchase yet, as it is collected and stored, we are always amazed about how much we have “saved.”

As leaders, we talk about change a lot. We talk about how others need to change, and we may talk about how we need to change. Sometimes, it ends there, stored in our words and thoughts, but never immediately put into action. The danger is we become passive pocket change leaders, saving our proposed actions for someone else or banking them for some later “right” time.

On the flip side is an opportunity that we become leaders who embrace our pocket change, using it to do something more with our time and efforts. We make choices each day in how we use our change, so the question becomes, simply, what type of pocket change leader are you?

In thinking about this question, it is valuable to break it into three key areas.

1.) Big Change or Small Change. Go big, or go home. This is how some approach change. In other words, the changes being proposed and pursued have a large scope, requiring much time and effort to make it happen and stick. The change is transformational, revolutionary… no doubt. People around you will take note of the change underway as well as the end result.

One the other side of the coin is “baby step” change. Changes made are small in scope, slight improvements that make us better in what we do. People around you may miss the evolutionary adjustments. At one point in time, the small changes add up, and people notice the renovation that has happened.

2.) Store it or Use it.  We do one of two things with pocket change. We either put it in a jar or we use it. When making changes as a leader, we have a choice as well. We can either put it into action or we can save it for later. The issue with the latter approach is that it may never get used. “Saved for later” turns into “saved for never.”

Yes, we can save several smaller changes and implement them together when the time is right. Or, we can take each change step as it becomes apparent.

If we store a change, then we need to put a process in place that triggers us to use it. If we make the changes as we go, then we need to put a mechanism in place that triggers the recognition of the progress made.

3.) Value it or Lose it. Pocket change seems to have lost its value. In a world of card swipes, change is a nuisance. In fact, you may have noticed more change scattered on the ground or around various places, valuable yet unused. People just leave it.

Here, again, is the choice:  Do you value change or not? Do changes get lost in the maze of everyday distractions, or do they carry an importance, regardless of size? We need to recognize the importance of change and grab onto it. Change is always valuable, and the learning and progress it delivers.

In business or government today, the talk of change is lying around everywhere. We just need someone to pick it up and use it, lead the change. It is the same in our personal and career life. We need to pick up the valuable change insights and lessons we receive, and we need to advance the change to make us better people, contributors, and leaders.

We need to decide what type of pocket change leader we are. Do we choose to:

  • Take actions to make change – big, small, or both
  • Bundle changes together to adapt, or make the changes as we move forward
  • Value change by leading it or just listening with no intent to use it

Look around your home and workplace, where do you keep your change? How do you treat change?

What type of pocket change leader are you?


Featured image by on2wheelz via Creative Commons, with some rights reserved.
Jon Mertz
Jon is a vice president of marketing in the healthcare software industry and named one of the Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business by Trust Across America in 2014. His background consists of an MBA from The University of Texas at Austin and working for companies like Deloitte, IBM, and BMC Software. Outside of his professional life, Jon brings together a community to inspire Millennial leaders and close the gap between two generations of leaders. Connect with Jon on Twitter @ThinDifference.
Jon Mertz

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With a thin difference between two generations, a vast opportunity exists to create a big leadership story. Close the gap & enable Millennial leaders to excel.
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