What do I know about change makers?
I have read the books, worked with people who work in the field. The key thing is that there are lessons and techniques that can be used in the corporate world. I don’t mean people who work in corporates can go and do good in the world. I mean that people who work in corporates can do good at work. Why not bring the good you can do outside, inside?
The second useful theme is that of change makers.
The Ashoka Foundation (?) defines a change maker as simply, someone who sees something that needs to be done and gets on and does it. Not asking permission but having the smarts to know that without the support of certain people in the community, it will not occur.
Changemakers are a social enterprise and organisations are social constructions – despite the inorganic models we use to manage them.
There are many stories and examples of organisations that send their people off to do-good, to take their business expertise (that is providing them with no fulfilment) and go to help people in less fortunate circumstances than their own.
This is the practice that Giridharadas finds so repulsive. He says this doing more good somehow seems to mitigate our inability to do less harm in our business practices.
I put it to you that the greatest amount of work to be done, with the greatest social impact is right in front of you, in your own organisation.
And I put it to you that a mid-level manager is ideally positioned to begin the shift.
The mental model / framework / paradigm I’d like to use is this.
The role of the mid-level manager is to create an environment in which craftsmanship can flourish.
Nothing more, nothing less.
But what could this mean for you?
Change Makers craft employee-centric change programmes. You choose to minimise the unintended consequences of change. You choose to understand, deeply, the organisation you seek to change.
Sometimes, you might mess up.
But it is not for want of trying. Better to mess up trying than indulge in faultless lying.
You Are a Creator
As a creator, you are driven to serve. As creator, you go where no-one has gone before. As a creator, you challenge diplomatically and cajole pragmatically. As a creator, you compromise the tactics but not the objectives.
Change makers and creators have a lot in common. They share the same human need for meaning and helping others excel. It’s what we do in our lives. It is often not what we do at work.
Change makers and creators focus on people. And they use good process. It’s about building trust. And delivering results. Sometimes, establishing trust is a good enough result.
If you trust someone, you’ll go to the ends of the earth for them and with them. That’s one way, and a pretty good way, of identifying leaders.
Change makers and creators are leaders but not overtly. They work primarily with ideas. Because ideas are powerful, ideas are strong. And ideas are what bring about change.
Change without an idea behind it is fake change. You can quite reasonably say to a Change Faker, “You have no idea”. You can even say it with an exclamation mark!
Fake change surrounds us. It is more prevalent than fake news. For those who grew up in Australia in the 70s and 80s, you might call it “Clayton’s Change”. But that’s not what you do. You make change. You’re not a faker.
You have an idea. But if you are a Change Taker, the idea has you.
That’s worse than faking, it’s playing the victim. And if you do not confront the idea, treat it as an equal, wrestle with it to try to understand it, you are under its spell. You become a peddler of second-hand ideas.
If you peddle second-hand ideas often enough, it can tip you over the edge into becoming a Change Braker. An advocate for “no change”, a lover of the status quo.
You cannot change what you don’t understand.
Hard as it may be to accept this, whenever we try to change something we don’t understand, we fail.
Doesn’t matter if it is an organisation or a person, a city or a truck. If we make changes to something without knowing the impact of those changes, it will fail.
Are you a change maker?
A change maker is…
A middle manager
I strikes me that middle managers are ideally positioned to become change makers inside their organisations. Are you one of them?
Change makers inside organisations.
Change Taker or Change Maker?
Change is hard
People resist change
70% of change fails
Change is a constant
These are the words of change takers. Change takers do not feel in control of the changes going on around them so all they have left is to find reasons that change is bad.
Change is good
Change is interesting
Change is refreshing
Change is exciting
Change means improving
These are the words of Change Makers. Change Makers are people who take creative action to solve a social problem.
Organisations are primarily social systems even as they are digitally disrupted, the disruption happens to people.
Change Makers is a term coined by the Ashoka organisation and they
Change Makers inside your organisation are in much the same position. They have the ideas but often lack the support needed to bring those ideas about.
Are you a Change Maker?
Perhaps you are a Change Maker supporter.
A person running their own business does not refer to themselves as a “small” business. And the CEO and Board of a company with 95 employees certainly do not refer to themselves as “medium”.
These are just categories so that economists and statisticians can better organise their data.
Same goes for you.