Have you ever prepared to cross a street, and there at the curb is a big, deep puddle? You don’t want to step in it. So, you look for a way around, or you try to decide if you can jump across it. I believe this is where many of us are right now. We are stuck trying to figure out a way around the complexity of a global coronavirus pandemic, the swings of political ideology upon our lives, and what the future holds for you, your family, your business, the organizations you contribute to, and your community as your home.
Four years ago as I was preparing to publish Circle of Impact: Taking Personal Initiative To Ignite Change, I put together a set of five guiding principles that I felt were a simple summary of the book. Over the past several months, I realized that the time for a refresh of the principles was needed. Several new things had begun, and I needed to reflect it a revised Guiding Principles of the Circle of Impact.
CIRCLE OF IMPACT FIVE GUIDING PRINCIPLES
1. ALL Leadership Begins with Personal Initiative to Create Impact.
2. We are ALL in Transition. Every one of us. ALL the time.
3. Impact is the Change that Makes a Difference that Matters.
4. Impact Expands through Networks of Relationships.
5. Start Small. Act Locally. Share Globally. Take the Long View.
We need to understand, “What do I have to offer to the world?”
Say that to yourself.
What do I have to offer the world?
Say it out loud if you want, emphasizing the “doing” of the offer.
What do I have to offer the world?
Write the sentence down. Look at it again.
Open up your hands palms up. Extend them out in front of you as if you are giving something to someone. In your hands is what you have to offer. It is the gift that you give to people, organizations, and places that makes a difference that matters.
Now imagine that every day you climb out of bed to offer the world all the unrealized potential that rests in your hands right now.
We are now beginning to see that our unrealized potential is not some abstract value, but something real that we have to offer. Something tangible that can make a real difference in the world. We are recognizing that we have within ourselves is a capacity for making a difference that maybe we’ve never thought about before.
In your hands is the power to bring change that creates goodness wherever you are, even at work, even in the midst of a global pandemic.
To learn what we have to offer is a process of self-discovery. We realize all we have been storing away, out of sight, out of mind, down deep in inside all these years. It is all we’ve learned, gained, and developed in the way of knowledge and experience throughout our lifetime.
Every organization has a culture. It may be a culture of competitiveness or fear. Cultures that pit people against one another are not well-positioned to address the challenges of living in the midst of transition. Most of these organizations are starved for leadership. For leadership is not simply what the senior executives may do. Rather, leadership is how people function within the context of their work. This means that the culture of the company is not a corporate initiative passed down to employees. It is rather how the company functions as a network of relationships.
Since the publication of my book, I have come to speak of these relationships as “a persistent, residual culture of values.” The values persist because they reside in the relationships of the people of the organization. As I commented to a woman who works in a company that is struggling in the midst of its own transition, “A company is not defined by its tragedies, but by the persistent, residual culture of the network of relationships that exists within the company.” To have this kind of culture requires creating a culture for leadership.
This is the fourth of four posts of excerpts from my book, Circle of Impact: Taking Personal Initiative To Ignite Change. These posts are about the transition that I see taking place within organizations in particular, and global society in general. If you or your business is in transition, you may find that many of the ideas and tactics that you used to manage change are no longer effective. You need not only a different perspective but new tools for living in the midst of a global transition of unprecedented proportions.