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Seb Anthony

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Change: Leader or Onlooker?


It is important to remember as we move into a time of change that we as Learning and Development Professionals will be under the spotlight. We will be watched, scrutinised and examined. Change should not focus on what we lose it should focus on what we will gain. As any good sales professional will tell you focusing on the future is far more productive that reinforcing what is about to be lost.
This is the same for the Learning and Development Professional, we have a plethora of talent within our profession; this is our opportunity to excel, to drive, to be inventive; remember all eyes will be on us to set examples and expectations.
Nature teaches us all we need to know about change, the clumsy Fawn becomes the elegant Dear; the unkempt Signet becomes the graceful Swan.
Of all creatures the Eagle faces the hardest decisions in relation to change. The Eagle lives to it’s 70’s however in it’s 40’s it’s beak is to bent, it’s talons are to week, it’s feathers are to heavy to allow it to hunt, the Eagle is now faced with a choice, change or die. If it chooses to do nothing, it will starve to death, if it chooses to change, it is a painful process. The Eagle finds a nest in the mountains, where it beats its beak against a rock until it can be prised out; it then waits for a new beak to grow. Then it will pull out its own talons and will wait until new ones grow in there place. It will then pluck out it’s old feathers, when this process is over the eagle becomes the elegant graceful hunter it once was, this process takes 5 months, however the eagle will live for another 30 years. The Eagle sees that it will gain 30 years, not that it has lost beak, talons and feathers.
Change is necessary to survive, change is never painless; change is the opportunity to become something different, something new, something exciting.
As we move forward in a time of recession it is important to remember that new opening’s, require new talent, new thinking, and new ways of developing. Who will supply the information? Who will develop the talent? Who will lead the way? We all must ask ourselves two questions, do I want to be a leader and innovator, or do I want to be a casualty. The other question is do I want to be part of the future of an organisation or part of its history.
The future is dull and worrying, or is it? This is the beginning of a transition, like the Swan or the Dear; we can become effective, innovative Learning and Development Professionals, the road will be long and arduous; however the rewards will be well worth the effort.
When talking about leadership Sir Thomas Paine said “Lead, follow, or get out of the way”. So we must ask ourselves, are we leaders; are we followers or are we simply onlookers, it is worth remembering what Margaret Thatcher said “Being a leader is like being a lady, if you have to go around telling people you are one, you aren't”. It is far better to show people what you can do than tell them. Remember we will be judged on our conduct and performance.

Jon Scoular


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