It’s time for a change!
Oh, but if only I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard someone on my reservation utter these words! It happens every year around this time. Candidates for tribal council work their way out of obscurity and begin to shower voters with truckloads of promises.
“I promise to represent ALL of the people, not just this family or that family.”
“I promise my door is always open to you; welcoming your input, advice, etc… “
“I promise to communicate.”
“I promise to not hide information.”
“I promise to not cower behind locked doors and offsite executive session meetings.”
“I promise to represent a government of the people, by the people and for the people.”
It all sounds so fabulous, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, every year it’s the same darn song. As promise-laden candidate hopefuls gain that coveted election seat, the once boisterous fire brooding within them quickly snuffs out in exchange for a glazed-over deer-in-the-headlights countenance that seems to scream, “What sort of malarkey did I just get myself into?!”
And when that happens, all those memories of encouraging, pre-election rhetoric leaves folks scratching their heads in bewilderment, provoking one common thought among even the most starry-eyed optimists:
DEJA-MOO! (We’ve heard this bull before).
So why jockey for change in the first place?
The promise of change is powerful. Whether a candidate promises change from the good old boys club mentality, change from status quo, changes from the way things have been done around here or even the bubbly, over-arching “change for the better”, the idea of change remains one of the most popular platforms for stirring one’s potential for political clout.
But can the candidate really deliver what he or she promises? Do change-preaching leadership hopefuls really have what it takes to become the agent for change they strive to be? The answer begins with understanding the basis for the change platform.
What exactly do you mean by “change”, anyway?
A platform for change is always brought about as a reaction to dissatisfaction toward the way things are or have been. When times are tough, change rhetoric can be very encouraging for people to hear. But to become a real change agent, you need a bit more substance than fancy signs and eloquent words, hugs and handshakes during campaign cocktail parties. With clearly defined goals, a focused plan of action, a great deal of inner strength and well-developed character to carry the weight of authentic change, a candidate can reposition him or herself from being a marginalized, angst-laden “all-talk” crowd pumping reactor to actually being proactive; taking a real, gusty initiative to get positive stuff done.
If you are one of the brave hopefuls running for office this year and you’re championing the idea of “positive change” when elected, begin by asking yourself these questions:
- What specifically sets you apart from all other potential leaders?
- What would you like to accomplish in three years?
- How do you intend to accomplish your plans?
- How will you administrate, delegate, communicate, and re-evaluate your plans?
- What types of resistance do you anticipate you will receive in reaction to your leadership?
- How do you plan to handle resistance you do not expect?
- How will you shift gears and continue moving forward on your goals when (not IF!) you experience resistance?
For more concepts on proven, effective leadership, check out Undercover Boss star Joel Manby’s new book: Love Works.