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Twenty two years ago, back in 1991, I left the Bank of New Zealand and went consulting. One of the first things I did was to get a new business card. It read: "Change Agent."
Back then, I really believed that change was what mattered. I saw it as necessary for growing and progressing. I now think I was wrong. Part of it was young man's arrogance and ego. As I've got older and wiser I've come to realise that far more important than change is to understand what is constant. The real power lies in what is unchanging, what is always the same, what is the essence of the thing - it nearly always comes down to human values of love, truth and beauty.
Today I think of myself as a "Dis-coverer". When thinking about business this means understanding, rediscovering and honouring the underlying original purpose and dreams of the founders. For example when we started Virtual Group in 1992, we launched it in a pinstriped tent as a symbol of pinstriped quality, canvas-thin overheads, openness and total flexibility; we called it 'Wisdom Without Walls.' It is interesting that 22 years later, even though many of the people are different and the technology looks antiquated, the basic dream remains the same. Creating organisations where people want to work is still what drives us 22 years later. However, for periods over that time, as we struggled with the daily challenges of making the company work, we complicated our dream, sometimes even forgetting it. In strategy development, instead of trying to invent a new way, I have found it's often more productive to "dis-cover" the original dream by getting rid of all the complications and cleverness that diverted us along the way. In my strategy work I've found it's important to remember 'why we exist', 'what's our purpose' and 'what truly matters to us.' To me, it's about liberating the human spirit at work. What is it for you?
When thinking about personal growth (and leadership), "dis-covering" means understanding, remembering and honouring the child you were, perfect with all your hopes and dreams. There is no doubt that we were all born with a core of greatness, but over the years the people we trusted most, like parents, teachers and managers, have flicked mud at us until our core of greatness is almost totally covered and largely forgotten. Worse still, we flick mud at ourselves when we think: "I'm not good enough" or "I can't do it." We've become some small fraction of the potential we were born to be. I think this is so important I've written a book about it called: "Buddha Hunter Leaders" and I've made "dis-covering" our Golden Buddha or Core of Greatness a major part of my Leadership Development Program. It takes time for people to accept and remember the greatness that exists inside, but when they do it is truly humbling work to be involved in.
I must have been thinking about this when I went to bed last night because the following poem came fully formed at 3.00am this morning and I had to get up and scribble it down so I could go back to sleep. It seemed far better in the night!
By Bruce Holland (with a nod to AA Milne)
When I was born
I could see the dawn
When I was a boy
Life was wonder and joy
When I was a youth
I lost touch with the truth
When I was adult
Everyone else was at fault
But now that I'm older
I'm wiser and bolder
I've remembered the dawn
Better head on my shoulder.
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Virtual Group Business Consultants
free phone: 0800 4 virtual or +644 570 0727 or Skype Bruce.Holland
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Key words: Leadership, leadership development, leadership management, leadership training, leadership program, leadership skills.