Posted by: christopherfeld | April 2, 2011

Thoughts on leadership: the potential for change

Earlier this year I visited with Ted Gaebler, City Manager of the City of Rancho Cordova, California. Mr. Gaebler’s discussion on leadership was truly provocative.

During the visit he offered a golden nugget regarding driving change in organizations. Drawing from his background as a leader in advocating and driving change in governments over the past 25 years, he relates a simple model to drive change.

Driving Change

The model illustrates the potential for driving change by overcoming imaginary conceptual boundaries. The blue zig zag area represents conventional thinking and perceived boundaries in thinking. For instance, one works at a company and everyone assumes that you can’t be promoted to manager without an advanced degree. Yet, unless someone researches the policies and procedures to learn that an advanced degree isn’t required, then they will never break through the imaginary boundaries of thinking (as represented by the point of the green arrow). Looking at the real edge that is far across the potential for change, one may find the real edge or the policies manual. Thus, we must continually push and test the values system and develop dialogue to get response on the wave created by the change.

Mr. Gaebler concluded with this quote:

“The rational man adapts himself to the world. The irrational man tries to adapt the world to suit himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the irrational man.” ~ George Bernard Shaw

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