As we are in times of urgency and limited attention capacity, I will make the message of this article clear from the beginning: An organization will not be able to transform itself until its leaders are able to transform themselves.
I want to make it clear that when I talk about transformation I am not talking about simple change or continuous improvement, since, if they want to stay current, both organizations and people must be constantly changing and improving. The change, thus seen, is what happens every day.
There comes a time, however, when it is no longer enough to do the same as always but better, but other things need to be done. It is then that the need to transform.
Any professional who has risen to senior management responsibilities on their own merit, and is honest with themselves, knows that an important part of their success is due to having learned early on to identify their own development needs, and to having successfully put them into practice. systematic initiatives to overcome them.
Similarly, if we ask that same professional, he will tell us that, despite all his attempts, there is a small group of development gaps that, despite having them perfectly identified, and having tried to cover them over and over again, has not been able to do so.
That manager has changed everything that could be changed. He has removed from the path all the stones that He could remove. If you want to remove the remaining ones, it is not enough to change: it is necessary to transform.
When transformation is pressing
The same thing happens to organizations. When the changes required by the environment are of a magnitude that requires profound changes in the culture of the organization, the simple processes of change are not enough to have enough strength to lift the stones that need to be lifted.
transform means be able to identify the deep habits that are behind those actions that we need to banishand replace them consciously and methodically with others, aligned with our purpose and vision of the future.
To be able to transform ourselves, we need to operate on three levels:
1) intellectual level (head): For example, being clear about the role that the transformation process plays in our purpose, being able to fully and clearly understand the need for change, correctly diagnosing our development needs.
two) emotional level (the heart): Involving not only our intelligence but also our emotion, deluding ourselves with becoming someone better, who can have more and better impact on others, keeping enthusiasm and optimism alive regarding the success of the process, avoiding unease or defeatism when the inevitable difficulties appear, and the “old habits” fight not to disappear.
3) Operative Level (the hands): Landing in the day to day the actions that it is necessary to exercise to develop the new habits, facing each day with sportsmanship in the fight against the “old habits”.
When a leader strives to transform himself in this way, it is only natural that he inspires others around him. We have probably all been touched at some point in our lives by someone who made us look up and want to be better than ourselves, someone who made us feel that we were called to something more, to reach higher, to impact more and better people. those around us.
Just as inspiring are the qualities that someone striving to transform must possess: Integrity, to consistently live the values that he preaches, even when it goes against the current, or it means assuming personal costs. Modestyto recognize their mistakes, asking for forgiveness and correcting the course if necessary. You look high: being able to capture the possibility that is hidden in each one, striving to see in each person the best version of themselves.
A leader like this is clearly inspiring. And the ability to transform, ultimately, depends on our ability to inspire.
Without inspiring leaders, organizations—and people—will be able to change, they will be able to learn, they will be able to adapt. But when the demands of the environment are of such a magnitude that it is necessary to transform, unfortunately these people and organizations will lack the strength to overcome their own culture, their own recipes for success, their own dominant defects. They may be a little better, but they cannot be transformed. The problem is that, sometimes, being a little better is not enough.