The chart for change

The chart for change

A manufacturing company was in the throes of a decline and there was need to revive the flagging spirits of both its managers and workers. The chairman called for a meeting and, in his address, asked his men what they expected from him. As they came up with suggestions, he wrote them on a blackboard. He then said, ‘I promise to fulfil all these expectations. Now, I want to hear what I can rightfully expect from you.’ The replies came thick and fast – loyalty, honesty, initiative, teamwork and eight hours of work each day. The meeting ended on a note of mutual appreciation and a newborn sense of hope was quite palpable. In course of time, the fortunes of the company steadily revived and its lost prosperity was restored.

This was hardly any stroke of luck. It was due to the fact that the chairman had, instead of issuing directives, volunteered to alter his style of functioning. This enabled him to elicit enthusiasm and cooperation from each of his workers. While change for the better often touches the lives of many, it begins essentially with the individual, for it is a contract with one’s own self, quite independent of rank and position.

‘Be the change you want to see,’ said Gandhiji and he followed this principle in both word and deed. Once a mother whose daughter was addicted to sweets asked Gandhiji to advise her against the habit. He requested them to come after three weeks. When they did, he told the child gently that too many sweets could prove harmful in many ways. At this juncture, the mother wanted to know why he had not given this advice earlier.

Gandhiji replied, ‘Three weeks ago I was addicted to sweets myself.’
Change cannot and will not happen unless the individual embraces it. Today it is all too common for lawmakers to turn into law-breakers. Judges are seen to be guilty of misdemeanours and teachers prove to be cheaters. We cry ourselves hoarse about saving the environment but do not hesitate to waste resources and cause pollution.

The beginning of change lies in the heart of each individual. As Paul Coelho pointed out, ‘The world is changed not by your opinion but by your example.’

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