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Recently, a friend introduced me to the music of Susan Werner. The words to her song “I will have my portion” have been on my mind in these days leading up to Thanksgiving. Her song speaks to a sense of both anticipation and hope; intention and plenty. Listen to the words:
As our nation’s economy still inches toward recovery, it is easy to imagine that countless Americans want to embrace the words of this song and claim them to be true. At the same time, millions around the world can only dream of the good fortune most Americans enjoy.
An Englishman named George Sala came to New York in 1879 and witnessed Thanksgiving in America - a holiday only officially established 16 years earlier by President Abraham Lincoln. In his book, America Revisited, he reported that “the Good Samaritan was out and about in every street of the great city on Thursday, laden with the good things of the earth, and sedulously seeking for the poor folks to relieve their bodily needs, and comfort them with kind words”. Mr. Sala gave us a wonderful image of American generosity that is worth remembering.
So during this upcoming holiday season I hope you will find a way, that is meaningful to you, to express your giving spirit – either in your family, your community or in a community around the world. In the words of Susan’s song: there’s enough to go around.
A few months ago I came across Harvard Business Review’s Management Tip of the Day: “3 Ways to Quietly Promote Change“. This article is grounded in the belief that 70% of all corporate change initiatives fail. It also promotes Harvard Business Review’s book “HBR’s 10 Must Reads on Change” – a collection of articles designed to help executives lead organization’s through transformation.
The title of the article should have been “How to Sneak Change in While No One is Looking” and the more I thought about it, the more I began to wonder why are we so afraid of promoting change openly. Of course my first thought went to the strong headwinds that President Obama has faced in his effort to change the way our government functions in this country. But is opposition to change a reason to try to manipulate it quietly, rather than promote it openly?
There are any number of reasons people are afraid of change:
- Fear of the unknown.
- Self doubt.
- Fear of what others will say or think.
- There is comfort in the familiar.
- Failure to see “what’s in it for me”.
While there are probably others…along with variations on these themes, these are the ones I see play out most often in the corporate world. While I agree with HBR’s premise that “change is a multi-stage process…not an event”, I’m not sure that quiet persuasion is the best way to ensure successful change. What do you think?