It all started over a scrambled egg lunch when a friend asked me what I thought transformation was. A group of us had been contemplating the local New Year Swim and for some, it was the first time and a scary prospect, hence the turn of conversation.
Recently a participant asked me the same thing in a leadership development course and I was reminded of that discussion. You won’t be surprised to hear that I’ve blogged about transformation before (Transformation – really?). Positive, sustainable transformation is at the centre of our work: connecting the current to the potential whether that’s the current you to the potential you, the current team to the potential team, or the current organisation to the potential one. (Potential, I believe is always one step ahead of your current position).
I define transformation as a shift in perception that renders the previously impossible, possible. I believe it is deep courageous work which in its wake brings humility and compassion since as we strive to stretch beyond current limits we surely recognise the struggles of others and the path that still lies ahead of us.
Some of you may be wondering about the relevance of humility and compassion in the work place? My contention is they are elements that both produce and are the products of transformation. Without them you will not see the need to look beyond what is to what’s possible or inspire others to do the same. Still others may be questioning the value of change that goes on around them- change for change’s sake. I would argue if it keeps you in the same small spiral, or takes you to an even smaller one, it’s not transformation as we define it: something which connects and moves to the greater potential.
Finally, you may say that you don’t see examples of people exercising the type of leadership which inspires and exemplifies transformation. Well we need them. The result of the volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world we inhabit is that “senior roles now demand a portfolio of skills and human capacities little short of the miraculous.” (p41 Dancing at the edge: Competence, Culture and Organisation in the 21st Century: Maureen O’Hara and Graham Leicester). Included amongst those “miraculous human capacities” are humility and compassion.
As a result of the conversation around that table, and with continuing encouragement and support, our friend believed that she could be the kind of person who could dip in the sea on New Year’s Day. And so she did. It has been the spur to many achievements and her potential keeps on expanding.
We’ve come a long way from scrambled eggs. What’s possible for you?