Even though I’ve spent less than a year of my entire life working for a corporation, I have long held substantial empathy for corporate employees. This empathy has likely served as my motivation for working so many years on organizational transformation. Having been an executive coach for several decades now, I have heard more than a few stories of unheard suggestions, dismissed ideas and the seeming deafness of the system when it comes to hearing recommendations for transformation. Seems hardly surprising then that the corporate employees I have come to know leave the corporate world and become consultants or coaches themselves. I therefore feel moved to remind them of this and encourage them to keep up the good fight and continue standing tall for what they see as needing to happen, despite the organizational lethargy or corporate stuckness.
Employees who see the need for change, remaining where they are and seeking support for their visions and their stands are in a unique position as champions for more conscious, sustainable and functional cultures.
While some employees can live with this tension – the tension between what their current situation is and how they would like to see it – most relieve this tension by leaving the company. Others might deny what the current situation really is, perhaps seeing it as better than it actually is. This is another way of relieving the tension.
The third way they can relieve this tension is to hold their vision and seek support for making the envisioned change happen; improving the way things are. They can seek support from other employees inside the organization or from people outside – people in other companies holding similar roles or independent consultants and coaches. They can think of themselves as internal operatives rather than suppressed victims, or as I like to call them “champions of transformation.”
Rather than having thoughts like “I’m only a small cog in the machine; what can I do?” or “No one wants to hear what I have to say” or “Only the C-Suite folks can get this done”, they can enjoy thoughts like “There are plenty of people who share my values and see the need for change” or “There are lots of allies out there who can help me bring about change” or “I don’t need to know exactly how to do everything as long as there are people who can help me.”
The growing recognition that organizations are running the world, and that if we want a different world then we better change the culture of organizations, means there are growing numbers of people available for supporting internal advocates for change – fellow champions of transformation.