Requirement number two is:
Effective Change Requires a Leader with Credibility.
How trustworthy are you viewed as a leader? It’s an important question that must be addressed before launching change. The credibility of a leader and leadership team plays a major role in effectively leading people through change. Credibility is important in a leader’s life, even in times of stability and status quo, but the dynamics of change heighten its importance. In times of stability and sameness, followers feel a sense of safety and security. In times of change and instability, the feeling of safety and security will be drawn from the leader’s credibility. If the leader or leadership team lacks credibility (perceived or real), the emotional trauma of the change can cause devastation instead of positive change.
“It is a good day to die!” It seemed like a suicidal statement given by the 33 year old Lakota Indian, Chief Crazy Horse. It describes his attitude as he prepared to battle against General Armstrong Custer at Little Big Horn, June 25, 1876. Unlike Custer, Crazy Horse survived the battle to fight again. The famous statement, which illustrates the confidence in which Crazy Horse embraced war and possible death, can be un-nerving to contemporary mankind. However, it also demonstrates the complexity of dealing with the radical changes we often face.
On the one hand Crazy Horse refused to embrace a new way of life. On the other hand, he would gladly embrace death, if necessary, to protect himself and his people from further intrusion and change. Though he won the Battle at Little Big Horn, “change” had already won the war! Like it or not, life as he had previously known it was over. A new day had dawned, and a new culture had arrived. The North American Indian would be forced to learn how to function in a new, unfamiliar, and frustrating world; or lose their identity altogether! Painfully, we know the rest of the story.
I was in Germany, on my way to a speaking engagement in Belgium when I got the news. I knew mom had not been communicating clearly at times lately, sometimes forgetting basic details or getting people’s names confused. Some of it was understandable since she was in her 70’s. We passed it off as old age, maybe the beginning stages of dementia, or perhaps she had gotten her medications mixed up. No one considered the possibility of brain cancer!
After talking with mom on the phone one night, an almost daily routine when I’m traveling, I knew her communication struggles had worsened; and I asked my daughters and nieces to take her to the emergency room. The doctors found numerous lesions on her brain caused by two brain tumors. It was inoperable and there was no cure! Without treatment she was given 2 to 3 months to live. With treatment, maybe 10 to 12 months! It was an event that changed everything! It was the end of the way things used to be. It was the beginning of a new journey, for mom, and us. Various emotions have invaded our daily lives, but over the last few days they have evolved. Shock. Disbelief. Anger. Sadness. Grief. Gratitude. Love. Joy. Peace.