Feb
24

The Choice Of Change – Indifferent Or Influential

by  Jon Mertz  |  Change Management
The Choice of Change: Indifferent or Influential

Why can some people change and others seem like they can never change? This question is a puzzling one to me.

We work and live with people who seem to always be adapting and others who seem to never say or do anything differently.

I believe change is a must to be relevant in our home place, workplace, and marketplace. There is a big difference between being relevant and being hip. Being hip is a blip.

Call it 15 minutes of fame – meaning there is no staying power to the change. Superficial may be a better designation.

Being relevant has staying power, meaning the change is thought through and the difference can be seen in the weeks and months ahead.

Changing Ways

There are two ways to approach change – indifferent or influential.

Indifferent – A passive approach to change is being indifferent about it. Change is viewed as something that happens around us. Change is just part of the environment. Within the environment, change is mostly uncontrollable, a happenstance event. Given this, the thought is we can just keep doing what we do the way we have always done it because we cannot control what happens all around us.

Everything else can change but we can stay the same. We choose to be laid back. The problem with this approach is life and opportunity will pass us by. We become observers of work, life, and leadership. What is worse is we become ineffective, obstinate, and ignorant. When we become indifferent to change, we can no longer be leaders. We merely bystanders or barriers.

Influential – A proactive approach to change is being influential within it. Change is recognized as a necessity. Change is recognized as a constant. More importantly, change is accepted as a growth and learning opportunity. We realize that we cannot keep doing things the way we have always done them because circumstances, people, and information have changed.

Change is much more than just being adaptive. Real changes require real behavioral and thought shifts. Rather than being pulled or overcome by change, we realize we can be influential within the change. We just need to choose to do so.

Change is viewed and acted upon in a proactive manner by understanding what shift is underway, thinking through the impacts, and then plotting a course to lead, work, and live in a refreshed way. By doing this, we begin to influence others to make similar changes and a positive momentum builds.

What happens is we live and lead with a clear mission within the changed environment. We become a change driver within change itself and can influence the direction in which it unfolds.

Change Or Get Out Of The Way

As the saying goes, “change or be changed.” Unfortunately, this is not true. The reality is change or become irrelevant. Change or become an obstruction that people always have to figure out a way around. Change or become a grumpy old person that everyone ignores. You get the point.

Our leadership responsibility is to be a positive influencer of positive change. In a sea of troubling changes, we need to rise up and provide an example of how the change can be leveraged for good and growth.

In a wave of continuous change, we need to exhibit the ability to adapt and navigate while also standing tall when strength of character is required. Influencing change is a great leadership responsibility we cannot shirk.

How do you influence and lead positive change?

About The Author

Articles By jon-mertz
Jon Mertz is one of the Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business and author of Activate Leadership: Aspen Truths to Empower Millennial Leaders. At Thin Difference, Jon writes and facilitates a conversation on how to empower, challenge, and guide the next generation of leaders.  »  View Profile

What People Are Saying

John Smith  |  26 Feb 2015  |  Reply

Hi, Jon:)

Great post – I love the phrase “proactive influencer”, because it clearly recognizes several things:
1) Not all change is influenced.
2) Not all leadership is proactive.
The emphasis on intentional leadership action to influence makes sense for all change situations I can imagine, even the ones I can’t control.

Nicely stated:) …

John

Jon Mertz  |  27 Feb 2015  |  Reply

John,

I agree completely with your three points. Leading with intention through change will enable us to learn more, grow more, and lead more effectively. By being intentional, we can set an example and influence others in the process.

Thank you for your key insights!

Jon

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