Change is inevitable. Change must enter our lives in one way or another. Something beautiful must be destroyed for something even more breathtaking to grow from it’s ashes. We are defined by our elaborate belief systems, the complicated mush of neurons in our brain that are constantly dying for newer grey matter to take their place. If you don’t change your circumstances, your circumstances will be forced to change you – sometimes more than you can fathom. The earth is spinning, get on and start running today or you’ll fall off tomorrow.
But what about the stubborn ones? The strong headed ones? The ones so deeply immersed in what they know and who they are that it becomes impossible for them to adapt to the winds of change. The ones so confident, so upright, so fantastically comfortable in their own brains and bodies that they would rather stand still as the earth spins around them. Which brings up the pressing question – Why change? Why not stick to what you know and be satisfied by the knowledge that if you haven’t failed yet, you must be doing something right. And even if you do fall flat on your face, didn’t dad always tell you to get up, clean up and trod back on the same path instead of feeling defeated and choosing a different one?
One of the unique things about organisations working in the impact space in India is that they have very distinct work cultures and put out a unique image based on what they perceive themselves to be. Development sector leaders take pride to the point of arrogance in the fact that their strong belief systems have translated down to their organisations over the years. And why shouldn’t they? Maintaining your own ideals in the face of external and internal pressure is what differentiates a leader from the rest of the pack. The easiest thing to do is to change your strategies and policies into those that have been proven to work. In a country where social leaders struggle more than they succeed, the most inviting and probably the smartest thing to do is to adapt best practices and ideas from around the world into your working system. What with every other person here competing to change the world more creatively, more permanently, faster, bigger, better – there will never be a lack of bright and innovative ideas to pick from. In the face of all of that, it takes a great amount of courage and determination to stick to what you know, not get influenced by the pretty, shiny prospects the world has to offer and ignore the jumpy new born in your office with a folder full of revamp strategies for your organisation. What do you know about this world, jumpy new born?
Over the past few weeks through the Fellowship, I have transitioned from being the strong headed leader in my own organisation to that jumpy new born in someone else’s. I have new ideas everyday that question the existing structure to make it more in tandem with our current times. New volunteer outreach programs, communication restructuring, innovative impact assessment methods – all in all opening up the organisation to opinions and ideas from the outside world. Everyday I struggle with that thin line between shaking it up and remaining grounded. Between introducing new ideas that push everyone towards a new way of thinking and maintaining the core principles and values upon which the organisation was built. What takes priority in such a scenario? How does one open one’s windows to fresh new winds from different lands yet have one’s feet fixed firmly on the ground? Stay tuned. I know I will.