Zen Leader Blog

Change Management Starts from Within

Posted by Diane Chencharick

Jan 17, 2012 8:19:00 AM

A Zen Master goes up to a hot dog vendor and says, “Make me one with everything." The hot dog vendor fixes a hot dog and hands it to the Zen Master, who pays with a $20 bill. The vendor puts the bill in the cash box and closes it. “Where’s my change?” asks the Zen Master. The vendor responds, “Change must come from within.”

I know... it's an old joke. But there's truth in that punch line. The world that we create is rooted in our very nature. It plays out in how we lead and manage. For example, the leader

• who thinks large and creates a grand, overleveraged life;
• who thinks small and creates a tiny, safe life;
• who seeks outer greatness in answer to inner doubt;
• who is outwardly impatient, because it’s hard to control inner impulses;
• who’s relentlessly drawn to what’s new to stave off inner boredom.

The idea that we are in a world of our making does not mean we can consciously control everything. It's true, our choices are shaped by the past. When we can recognize that reality contains much more possibility than what's on our limited self-made palettes, we can make the flip from, what The Zen Leader calls, being "out there" to "in here."

It begins by seeing into the mirror. How am I playing into this? If I chose this, what might I get out of it? This first step lets us see how our own forces are in play.

Find the root. Like pulling a weed, if we don't find the root, our efforts are superficial. Roots are underlying fears that have molded our behavior.

Claim your power. Accept whatever your fears may be telling you, not as a judgment, but as a discovery about yourself. When fear loses its hiding place, our world becomes a vastly bigger, freer place.

The Zen Leader leads fearlessly by changing the world from "in here." How might your options increase if you had an unrestrained perspective when implementing change in your organization?

Topics: zen leader, managing change, zen, leadership, change management

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This blog is dedicated to the concepts described in the book The Zen Leader by Ginny Whitelaw.  In this blog we discuss how these concepts are applied to a variety of current situations and applications, helping us all unleash the Zen Leader within us!

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