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Where Change Begins, Part 2
By Dr. John C. Maxwell

In the last edition of Leadership Wired, I said that if we are going to change an organization, we must begin by changing ourselves. Change is not a once and for all kind of thing - if only it were that easy. No, changing ourselves is a lifelong process. Not only that, but we must be intentional about how we want to change. I have found that:

1) When you change your thinking, you change your beliefs.

2) When you change your beliefs, you change your expectations.

3) When you change your expectations, you change your attitude.

Positive expectations produce feelings of excitement, desire, conviction, confidence and enthusiasm. Here is where a natural-born pessimist can re-program his or her basic outlook on life. What a difference it makes when you expect the best, not the worst - the possible, not the impossible!

4) When you change your attitude, you change your behavior.

Once we begin to see change as being the key to a better future, it's easy to modify our behavior accordingly. Going the extra mile no longer seems out of the question; in fact, we do so willingly, knowing it is taking us closer to where we want to go.

5) When you change your behavior, you change your performance.

I find that we often make two mistakes in this area. First, we often sit around and wait for God to change our circumstances. Second, we wait for circumstances to change our behavior. Is it any wonder that some people change so little?

I've seen the following changes in my own life as I've applied these principles. When I began to change my normally playful behavior and became more disciplined, it opened up a myriad of opportunities for me. When I changed my bent toward people-pleasing to become a God-pleaser, I began to make tremendous strides as a leader. When I broadened my focus from the local church to a national focus, it resulted in a burdened heart for leaders, especially pastors. When I shifted my behavior from being a leader of people to a leader of leaders, I began to see exponential growth around me. This is all to say:

6) When you change your performance, you change your life.

Most people fail to see that life is moving on at a rapid speed. None of us have all the time we'd like. If you see an area you need to change, CHANGE NOW. I'm not talking about cosmetic changes. That's where we change our talking but not our thinking, our environment instead of our expectations, our appearance instead of our attitudes, our business instead of our behavior, and our biases instead of our beliefs. Rather than focus on changing ourselves, too many of us content ourselves with dreaming about the results we desire from life and wonder why they remain just that - dreams.


Making Changes That Count

Consider the following six questions carefully. Each addresses a critical area of life that may need improvement.

Making changes in yourself is a prerequisite to leading any organization through change. Once people around you begin to see the results of personal growth, you gain both credibility and respect. With those two things, change in your organization moves from possible to probable.

"Our task is not to bring order out of chaos, but to get work done in the midst of chaos."
-George Peabody

"The job of a football coach is to make men do what they don't want to do, in order to achieve what they've always wanted to be."
-Tom Landry

"It's never too late to be what you could have been."
-George Eliot

"Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all."
-Dale Carnegie


One of the keys to becoming a better leader is understanding the five levels of leadership.

Level 1: Position

At this level, people may follow you, but only BECAUSE THEY HAVE TO. Influence is based on a job description, and people won't follow you beyond the bounds of your stated authority.

Level One is a great place to start, but a terrible place to stay. Leaders who stay on this level experience insecurity, high turnover and friction. As a positional leader focuses his or her energy on asserting their RIGHT to lead, their followers get frustrated and de-motivated. To achieve lasting leadership, he or she must move on to the next level.

Level 2: Permission

People will follow you BECAUSE THEY WANT TO. This phase of leadership makes work fun for everyone. Followers go the extra mile with a good attitude.

When leaders stay here and never advance to the next level, they find that they don't earn the respect they would like, and any highly motivated people on the team become restless.

Level 3: Production

People follow BECAUSE OF WHAT THE LEADER HAS DONE FOR THE ORGANIZATION. Momentum picks up speed as followers see the RESULTS their leader has achieved and make a conscious decision to "get on board." As a result, they catch the vision and act on it; they begin to share the success.

By the way, this is an important level, and many effective leaders remain here for a long time. But only at the next level can a leader help his or her people experience their own success.

Level 4: People Development

Leaders who practice people development make it their goal to REPRODUCE their own leadership in others. People follow BECAUSE OF WHAT THE LEADER HAS DONE FOR THEM.

The leader who reaches this level has accomplished a great deal. His or her followers feel a personal connection with them, and they continue to grow. In fact, most good leaders hope to someday arrive here. There is still one final level that only a small group of HIGHLY influential people ever achieve.

Level 5: Personhood

Few leaders reach this level. People follow them BECAUSE OF WHO THEY ARE AND WHAT THEY REPRESENT. Their reputation precedes them, and people flock to them and their organizations. Few make it here, but those who do are larger than me.


"Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly."

- Robert Kennedy


  Prepare to be out of touch.

If you allow your phone, pager, email, or staff to interrupt you at will, you will spend your day dealing with other people's crises and never spend a moment on the things that are important to you. Set aside a specified time every day to return calls or email and meet with team members - but do so after you've invested in something of value to you.

  Pick something and never do it again.

There are dozens of things you are doing now that could be, should be done by someone else or not at all. If pulling weeds is therapy for you, knock yourself out. If not, hire a neighbor kid to do it and buy back your time for pennies on the dollar. Whether it's mowing your yard, sorting mail, sleeping on airplanes, or mindlessly flipping channels on TV, there is something you could give up today and never miss. But the time you gain back will be invaluable.

  Choose your mood.

Know anyone who can't seem to work unless the conditions are just right? If he is upset or angry or depressed or lonely, he can't be productive. No one else can make you sad, glad, happy, or mad. Choose to be in the kind of mood that makes you productive and quit being held hostage by your emotions.

  Forget quick fixes.

Whether its hiring a team member, dealing with a critic, or learning a new skill, taking time to do it right the first time is always quicker in the long run than taking shortcuts. Taking a shortcut inevitably costs us again down the road.

We spend thousands securing our homes and cars against the thief waiting to break in and steal. Let's be just as diligent to make sure we don't steal from ourselves by going for the quick fix.

It's just a thought.



site links:                                    

speed  drivin'  people are never the problem

head and shoulders postulates   car wreck Daimler/Chrysler

culture shift  defining moments  more on change

thoughts      first, break all the rules

business @ the speed of thought   Semantics, say what you mean

Personality of a Leader       Injoy  on Leadership

The case against being loyal to the culture

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This website and all of the information contained within unless otherwise noted is the intellectual property of Edward E. Baccus and is protected by copyright laws as applied.  Ed 4/1/2001