Who and what are change makers?

There are plenty of people you will come into contact with who are what I would term as one of life’s ‘observers’ or a ‘critic’.  They will tell you what is wrong or what they don’t like about a situation, but cannot or will not bring about the change that is needed.  Time is precious – you are on a mission to make a difference – so my recommendation is that you hear their issue but quickly move on to the Change Makers, the people who make a difference to their environment (they are much more fun to be with!).

So are you a Change Maker?  As a leader how do you rate yourself on the following?

  • you believe you can make a difference to people you support
  • you are innovative and creative in your work and how you see the world
  • you are not comfortable with the status quo
  • you have momentum – you have a sense of urgency in your life and your work
  • you influence and change people’s lives – you have an impact (you leave a legacy that is enduring)
  • you don’t stand on the side-lines of life. You see the need for change; then make the change and take people with you

As a leader, why be a change maker?

The chief role (I believe) of a leader is to be a someone who inspires others; who captures people’s imagination and who has a vision of what can be.  As a leader you cannot stand still or live off previous achievements (in my experience successes only have a relatively short shelf life).  As a leader you need momentum!  I have always been fascinated by successful leaders and I look for trends.  What sets apart the successful leaders and those who drop out of view?  After more than 40 years of observation I can now share my ‘research’ – it is a ‘momentum’ for making change that benefits others, whether it is their team members or customers.

Being Bettina’s Dad: Bettina is a Change Maker

Take a little time to ‘search’ for Bettina on the Blog for examples on how Bettina has influenced and changed people’s attitudes towards people with Autism and Learning Disabilities.  Bettina does not stand still for a moment and neither should you!  Bettina has achieved much in her life but she is not complacent and she pushes her boundaries and those who care passionately about her.  I don’t think there has been a week in her life when she has not made a change and the way she leads it.  I have to say it is very exciting being her parent and she inspires me to be a change maker too.

Dosh Financial Advocacy: a Model for ‘Change Makers’

  • We look to create a WOW (a new Way Of Working) factor each month
  • We adapt and change our services and products to meet the developing aspirations of our customers and those who support them
  • We try and do ourselves out of business! We reflect on what could a competitor do better than us at supporting people with their money? – how could they make their support more accessible? How could they be more responsive than us?  Then we set about changing our services based on our findings
  • We use developments within our ‘sector’ to make the necessary changes for the people we support
  • We spend time with the people we support and those who support them and really listen.
  • Each team member is recruited for their leadership and talent for creativity, and then given the space and freedom to innovate and develop their company.

My Change Making decisions in my life and work

I think the biggest change in my life was in 1996 when I retired from the British Army after 24 years, a career which I loved and which had been a childhood dream.  I changed careers to supporting people with learning disabilities, which has been equally rewarding, and largely thanks to Bettina who inspired me.

I suggest making small changes initially.  I did this in my first year of Dosh, after which I was able to make an informed decision that a fundamental change needed to happen for Dosh in order to achieve and survive.  I restructured the company in 2010/11 and firmly believe it was the right thing to do for our stakeholders.

Leadership stuff I have learned: my top tips for budding change makers:

  • Attitude is everything – tell yourself that you are a change maker often enough and you will become the change maker you want to be
  • Start off with small achievable changes before tackling the big changes. This will help with your confidence and build your reputation for being known as a change maker
  • Sweat the Small Stuff – look at the small things that need to change in your work and life and then, with relentless focus, change them for the better. Doing this when they are ‘small’ will make it a lot easier
  • Look what is already in place – use the resources you currently have to make the change
  • Write down your goals and objectives for change (good thoughts are useless and need to be written down to ensure commitment)
  • Surround yourself with positive, talented and creative people. In my experience, it is rare that a change is the result of one person’s work – It happens more often than not when a team or group ‘pool’ their thinking and creativity, then take action.

Do you have any tips for budding change makers? Leave a quote below or send me a tweet.

For more leadership inspiration follow me on Twitter at @DoshLtd.