Zen Leader Blog

Leadership advice - When things don't go as you want them to

Posted by Diane Chencharick

Dec 11, 2012 9:47:00 AM

leadership disappointment Change is hard. It never happens as easily or as quickly as you want it to, especially when you are the one leading the charge. You put all the systems in place… you keep everybody in the loop on your progress… you might even hear little signs of encouragement along the way that lead you to the false conclusion that this important initiative will be a piece of cake. Then it all goes to pot and you ask yourself, "What the heck happened?"

If this sounds all too familiar, I empathize. Welcome to my present world. But this time, I am not taking it personally. I've developed a certain level of awareness over the past few years that is not letting this situation get its hooks in me. Because its NOT about me. So often we forget this and let emotions rule our follow up actions.

The Zen Leader talks a lot about this "flip" in consciousness in Chapter 9, From Local Self to Whole Self. It's a concept that can be difficult to understand, but when you make that flip, it's easy to see that there are a lot more factors in play than you may have initially realized. Here's the basic process:

WHO - Become aware of all the players
Become aware of the many people that are playing into the current situation. Make a mental note of each one, or even write them down. Who are all the immediate players in the situation? Who might be considered secondary players? I encourage you to expand your thinking to future people who may be impacted by this change.

WHAT - Consider the needs and fears
There is a reason, usually more than one, why people are resisting this change - and the reasons can vary widely by individual. Go back to your list of the players and do some role playing. What factor might be swaying them in another direction? What are they fearful of? What need is not being met by this change? This exercise allows you to "become the other person," as Ginny Whitelaw states in The Zen Leader. It might benefit you to write these down as well.

Now, look over your list. Get a sense of the WHOLE picture, not just your own perspective on this change. "The whole-self answers son't necessarily contradict those of the local self so much as add new dimensions, or broaden the approach. They may even reveal a better way to state the goal, or an overarching issue that has to be dealt with first," continues Ginny.

This has been a valuable exercise for me, and I hope can add benefit to you, too. If you would like a more detailed look at this flip, along with some good real-life examples, I encourage you to download the guide: Implementing Change - Understanding All The Players.


Topics: instituting change, managing change, awareness, leadership advice, leaders, the zen leader, leadership, change management, whole leadership. whole leadership development

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

Welcome to the Zen Leader Blog

A blog that transforms:

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!

Also visit the FEBI Learning Lounge: The official FEBI blog


Subscribe to Email Updates

Recent Posts

Posts by Topic

see all