Have you ever considered becoming an agent of change; or, considered, how to move yourself into the realm of transformation? How about considering what leadership, change agency, and transformation have to do with each other?
Simply, the distinction is that transformation is internally driven, whereas development is externally driven.
And, of the former, becoming a change agent as a leader is transformative. Why? Because when we move on the leadership spectrum away from the status quo and toward becoming an agent of change, we create the possibility of transforming ourselves and everyone around us.
Alright, let’s take a look at becoming a transformative change agent as a leader. There are two parts to this conversation, and they are as follows.
4 things you can to do to move into the realm of transformation; and,
3 things you can do to become a change agent.
Ready? Let’s go.
4 Things You Can Do to Move Into the Realm of Transformation
1. Question All of Your Current Beliefs
When we are living in and for transformation, we always question what we know. Why is this important? Good question.
Because if we know everything there is to know about a particular topic or subject, we can’t learn more. And, when we are closed to learning more, we are also closed to transformation.
The entire realm of transformation occupies the unknown. Why? Because when we live today as we did yesterday, which is essentially what happens when we are closed to learning something new, we simply reproduce today as we lived yesterday. Not transformative.
However, when we are open, and question all of our beliefs, we immediately create a space where learning is possible. Yep.
Now, though learning is possible when we are open and we question our beliefs, we must also be willing to let go of our beliefs. Questioning our beliefs is the first step, and we must also learn how to let go.
2. Let Go of the Beliefs that No Longer Serve You
When you begin to question your beliefs, the next step is to let go of those that no longer serve you. Can be difficult. Why?
Because we are socialized to think and act in certain ways. And, socialization is powerful. However, when you begin to question your beliefs, you will see there is much to learn. And, it is often necessary to let go of our previous views. It’s okay.
Letting go of beliefs that no longer serve you is not a problem. You don’t get a demerit for letting go. Know also it’s not a sign that those that taught you what you know, were wrong.
It’s not about right and wrong. It’s about knowing that letting go is a natural process of growing, first, and, second, letting go is necessary and needed to find your transformational path.
Once you question your beliefs, and begin to let go of those that no longer serve you, it’s time to begin re-creating your belief system.
3. Recreate Your Belief System as Often as Needed
People interested in transformation, are actively interested in recreating their belief systems. They are always searching for new ways to learn, to develop, and to be.
Though development and transformation are different, they are related. Development is a wonderful platform to gain the knowledge necessary to enter into the space of transformation.
Recreating your belief system simply means that you are open to doing the internal work necessary to transform.
When we are quiet and do the internal work necessary to question all that we believe, and then let go of the ideas, concepts, and emotions that no longer serve us, we automatically create the space needed to recreate our belief system.
Know that in a space of transformation this process is continuous. It becomes a daily practice. And then? Well, then you are ready to act from a new space, with new beliefs.
4. Taking Action From Your New Belief System
When we question our beliefs, let go of the beliefs that no longer serve us, and then recreate our belief system to fit our current transformative iteration, we automatically take action from that new belief system.
We begin to act from a new space and in a new way. Does it happen all at once? It may, yet often it is iterative, which simply means, as was aforementioned, that it is a continuous process.
Transformation is a continuous process of inquiry, investigation, and in some cases interrogation.
Old beliefs, habits, and patterns can be hard to let go of; yet, with practice, and guidance as needed, new beliefs, habits, and patterns can be created.
Yet, because these beliefs, habits, and patterns are so deeply ingrained within our beings, it takes being intentional.
Much like development, you must want to transform. You must create and set the intention to develop, and you must do the same with transformation.
Alright, once you’ve intentionally embarked into transformation, there are three more things to consider in order to see the connection between leadership, change agency, and transformation.
3 Things You Can Do Today to Lead as a Change Agent
1. Create Your Future From Your Future
When we create our future from our future, we recognize that to do other, is to create our future from our past. Happens often. It’s not a demerit.
However, to really create change, we must move into a space where we let go of the past, and stand in a reality that is being imagined as a future concept of a reality we want to live into. Important. How, you ask?
Imagine. Dream. Create. Repeat.
You have within you all of the imagination and dreams that have been present for, well, possibly, your entire life. Time to let them out.
Once you have, you can begin to create the future you want to live into. Create? Meaning, you can begin to take ideas and put them into systems and processes to see them realized. Concept meets execution.
Three simple steps, ready?
Put your imagination to work. Get those dreams out of your head and heart and into the world somewhere, anywhere. Write them down. Don’t limit yourself. Just write them down.
Create a map of those ideas, connecting the ones that are connectable, and then categorize them, or prioritize them. What do you want to create first?
Now, one at a time, create plans and associated actions to see these dreams into reality. Doesn’t matter how “big” or “small” these dreams are. What matters is that you put them into a system to make them a reality. Try it.
2. Don’t Worry About Barriers, or People That Don’t Understand
People that actively work to create change in the world are often met with barriers, and people that say it’s not possible. Normal. Why?
Because the status quo is more comfortable, and it’s what people know. People are fearful of what they don’t know, and don’t understand. You will be met with resistance.
However, when you are aware of this, you can meet those barriers and people where they are at. No judgment. And, no problem.
Where there is a barrier, or a person that says what you’re doing is impossible, there is another path toward the realization of your dream. Truth. Often, there will be several other paths, you just need to be patient.
They will show up. How do I know? I’ve experienced it many times. When you are creating change in the world, you are in action, you are pushing on systems that have been in place, in some cases, for years and years.
Yet, they are changeable. All of them. With a little persistence without resistance, you can create the change you want to see in the world.
Well, sometimes that force can also feel like resistance. Like we are resisting our current reality by trying to create something new to supplant our current reality. It can be subtle.
Or, have you ever just plain resisted your current reality? Maybe, more common?
Either way, when we resist our current reality, we are, in effect, creating more of that reality. Paradox? Yep, yet it is true. There is another way.
Be persistent without resisting your current reality. Meaning, accept your current reality, just as it is, with all that you enjoy and dislike. Then? Begin to create from that space. A space of no judgement about all that is in your life. Can be difficult.
Yet, in a space of persistence without resistance, we have the best opportunity to actually manifest the reality we are working so hard to create. Yep, just like that.
Alright, so we’ve now discussed 4 things you can do to move yourself into the realm of transformation, and we’ve also covered 3 things you can do today to lead as a change agent.
And, there, then is 4 + 3 = 7 Ways to Become A Transformative Change Agent Today. As I’ve written in many other posts, we need more transformative change agents. In fact, I would argue, we need every one of us to step up, and work to create the change we want to see in the world. Why?
Simple. Because you deserve it, we all deserve it, the whole world does. We all deserve to live in a world where dreams, imagination, innovation, and positive change are regularly created by each of us, you and me.
Thorough or dramatic change in form or appearance.‘its landscape has undergone a radical transformation’
A metamorphosis during the life cycle of an animal.‘Both the molting process and the metamorphic transformation from larva to pupa are coordinated and regulated by hormones.’
Ah, do you see the dinsticiton? Either way, let’s work it through.
When you are interested in development, meaning available to it, you occupy a space that welcome’s learning. You stand outside of what you believe to be true about the world, and how you occupy it, and welcome new knowledge, new types of understanding, and new ways of being. Simple. Or is it?
Well, because we have an ego, or, wait, do we? Well, for the purposes of this post, let’s assume we do. Because we have an ego, we don’t like being wrong.
We are constantly seeking validation of what we know. Why?
Because it fits into our worldview. It is what we know. When information comes in, we assemble it into the the narrative of our worldview and who we believe we are. We confirm our ego.
If the information doesn’t fit into our current worldview, we really only have two choices.
Deny the existence of this new information, or become open to it.
Denying this new information is called denial. We are actively denying that another way to look at a situation or event is possible. Egocentric.
However, when we are open to the possibility that there are other ways to think about a situation or event, we have now entered into the developmental arena.
Meaning, that we can now take this new information in, make sense of it, and do something with it.
Even if the information doesn’t fit into our current worldview, if we are open, we can incorporate it into our worldview rather easily. It is all about being open to new information, new ways of understanding, and new ways of being.
The simplest example is to consider development at school and work. When we are confronted with new information, we have a choice. Assimilate and incorporate that new information into our existing worldview, creating new knowledge, or reject it.
I am always in conversation with the team about our goals, objectives, and priorities. Recently, I was asked about hiring someone to run Zoom technology for the upcoming professional development trainings.
I, however, was unsure about the need. Didn’t know. I needed to think about it.
Well, the next week, I ran a Zoom meeting with the team. The meeting was 90-minutes and was about creating our next 30-day priorities. Part of the meeting was creating breakout rooms, which you can do in Zoom. The meeting was a complete disaster. Really, it was. What did I learn?
That you absolutely need someone to run technology while the person running the meeting does just that, runs the meeting. I learned through doing the meeting that hiring someone for a Zoom tech position was absolutely necessary. We are hiring someone right now.
I moved from questioning the need, reflecting upon it, to learning that we definitely needed the new position. I developed.
Alright, that’s development. Opportunities for development are available every day. If you don’t see them, it might be that you are avoiding them or in denial about them. It’s not a demerit. I didn’t develop for a long time. Really. I wasn’t interested. Not a judgement. Just a fact. Let’s now look at transformation.
Now, transformation implies a complete change to the object, thing, or person. Yep, that’s right. How then does transformation differ from development?
While development requires an active openness, as we’ve discussed, transformation requires openness and a complete and total letting go of what was, in favor of what will be. It requires a shift from a focus on the external to the internal.
Transformation is about questioning all you know. Every ounce of what you know, or beleive you know, must be questioned.
Further, you must be willing to let go of how you previously viewed the world. Open to a continual process of creating new information, new ways of understanding, and new ways of being.
The distinction is that with transformation you actively seek out opportunities to question the ways you think, act, and occur. Internally focused.
You are continuously interested in disrupting your old habits and ways of thinking while creating new habits and ways of thinking.
Let me give you an example to help with the distinction.
Let us say you want to develop leadership skills. You can develop leadership skills in lots of ways. You can take classes, read books, even put leadership principles into practice in your life. That is development.
You incorporate new information into the preexisting way you already think about leadership. Simple. How then to create transformation? Mm. Different.
You must be willing to let go of all of your preconceived ideas about what leaders are supposed to do, how they are supposed to act, and how they are supposed to be. All of them. Then what?
You leave your ego at the door.
And, everything you think you know about leadership. Start over. Really. Let it all go. And, create from there.
Transformation can only occur when we let go. Know also that the letting go will need to happen again, and again, and again. Over and over. Why? Because you are disrupting what you held to be true, and creating something new. Key. You are not adding, you are creating.
Let’s see. Okay. Here we go.
When the pandemic began here locally, we were approaching the last week of the term at the community college where I work. As I’ve mentioned in other posts, I work in community and continuing education. It is all experiential. All of it. Which means that it is in-person. All of it is, or was.
Within one month of the pandemic beginning here, we let go of all the concepts we held to be true about our business model. All of them. What happened?
We created an entirely new business model. A model that is transformational, as all aspects of it are completely different than the previous model. All of them.
We created all new processes and systems for how we do business. New ways we market and engage with the local community, new ways that instructors teach their classes, even the content that is delivered, while similar, is still completely new. Why?
Because a completely new context has been created. And it was created intentionally by believing something else was possible. Which then replaced our current belief system of how we all viewed our work.
All of us. now our actions follow that new belief system. That is transformation.
When you intentionally create new ways to be, new ways to think, new ways to believe, new ways to be a human, you are creating contexts that are transformational. Never seen or experienced before. Transformation.
How are development and transformation similar?
One key way. When you develop, whether you want to or not, you give out your development to others. If those around you are open, they will learn from you and also develop. And, it is the exact same for you. If those around you are developing, and you are open you will also develop.
It is the same with transformation. If you are creating transformational contexts that change the nature of what’s possible, those around you, if they are open, will also transform. If they are open. If not, then they won’t. Same for development.
Can development lead to transformation?
Oh, yes, absolutely. In some ways, they sort of go together, which is why I wanted to write about the distinction. Whereas they are different, they both are about being open to and participating in creating change.
Here is a distinction on the difference between change and transformation.
“Change is about using external influences to modify actions to achieve desired results. Transformation is about modifying beliefs so that natural actions achieve the desired results.”
See the difference? One is externally driven, and one is internally driven. Very similar to the distinction between development and transformation. Important.
How do you begin to develop or transform?
Really it’s pretty simple, yet not easy. A paradox, yep. My suggestion?
Be open to everything around you. Being open is probably the key to both development and transformation. Both become possible when we are open to new information and new experiences.
When we are open, the world opens up. It really does. There is so much to learn and to experience. Being open creates an immediate possibility. The possibility that you will learn to be more. More of either how you already occur, or more by occurring in a completely new way in a completely new context.