Home > Leadership, The Monday Musings Column > when it comes to change, would you rather be a follower or a leader?

when it comes to change, would you rather be a follower or a leader?

Continuing the theme of change, last week I wrote about how change is all around us all of the time and I described myself as a change junkie. I’ve been challenged on that, so want to explore my motivations a little more.

I am an enthusiast for change; I like new things, the way technology brings us opportunities to live and work differently and the possibilities to make our lives better. Advances in science and medicine take away some of the fears of illness and its consequences; as a child tales of polio, iron lungs and the like were the stuff of nightmares and it is good to know that many of these things have been pretty much eradicated from our lives.

Back when I first went out on the road as a salesman we used to carry a bag of coins so that we could call orders in from a roadside telephone box, if we wanted to write to a customer we used to call in to one of the audio typists and dictate the letter over the phone and to fill up the company car we went to the local filling station with whom we had an account. If the boss wanted us he’d have to wait until we came back and if there was an urgent family problem that would have to wait until we got home. That’s how it was in the early 1970s and I would not want to go back to those days (other than when I relive fond memories of some of my adventures perhaps).

Having said that, I wouldn’t mind having my 20 year old body back though; I can’t say that I am as enthusiastic about the way change, through time, has taken its toll on the physical side, but then I accept that that has to happen, just as I accept that, one day, I will cease to exist. We are all part of change whether we like it or not.

So am I in favour of change for the sake of it? There are times when the old adage of if it ain’t broke don’t fix it is true; there are times when making a change for the sake of it doesn’t make sense, especially if it means that such change distracts you from a real issue. There are also times when a stable period can give you a baseline to work from, but whilst there are times when you may not be able to afford change, there are other times when you can’t afford not to.

We have to evolve in business and in life, and that means changing with the times at least as we have to adapt to the world changing around us, but why wait for change to drag us with it? I would rather be at the vanguard of change as much as I can, because then I can have some influence over how and what I change; if I wait until I have to change I might not have as many options and I’m just playing catch up.

You can argue that some things don’t change and I’d have to agree; my love for change for a start hasn’t altered, but so much does and we have to evolve. Those of us who try to stay ahead of the curve will sometimes get it wrong and have to change again quickly, but I’ll always be a fan of those who are pushing the boundaries, the pioneers. My boyhood heroes include quite a few and it’s to them that I owe my own enthusiasm.

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