Change Leader, Change Thyself

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Reposted from the McKinsey Quarterly:

Leo Tolstoy, the Russian novelist, famously wrote, “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”

Tolstoy’s dictum is a useful starting point for any executive engaged in organizational change. After years of collaborating in efforts to advance the practice of leadership and cultural transformation, we’ve become convinced that organizational change is inseparable from individual change. Simply put, change efforts often falter because individuals overlook the need to make fundamental changes in themselves.

Anyone who pulls the organization in new directions must look inward as well as outward. Building self-understanding and then translating it into an organizational context is easier said than done, and getting started is often the hardest part. We hope this article helps leaders who are ready to try and will intrigue those curious to learn more.

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