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Join me as I focus a leadership lens on fantasy books and series. Current Series: The Wheel of Time, by Robert Jordan (and Brandon Sanderson) Contact me: s10473@protonmail.com

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The Shadow Rising - Chapter 1 [#119]

The Most Dangerous Phrase In Any Language

    A series first: no prologue! Just jumping right into the action.  Min arrives at the White Tower, seeking an audience with the Amyrlin Seat.  As she is led through the halls, her ability to see the future shows a bleak picture of battle inside the halls of the White Tower.  In her discussion with the Amyrlin, Min reveals that the plans Moiraine and the Amyrlin laid have not snared Rand enough.  He's unpredictable and bringing change.

    "I'll take the risk; maybe I can help him.  With what I see.  It isn't even as if the Tower would be that much safer, not so long as there is one Red sister here.  They'll see a man who can channel and forget the Last Battle, and the Prophecies of the Dragon."

    "So will many others," Siuan broke in calmly.  "Old ways of thinking are hard to shed, for Aes Sedai as for anyone else."

Min and Siuan Sanche, The Shadow Rising, p. 27

    Unfortunately, change usually gets viewed as a threat.  It is a threat - to the status quo.  People within organizations view it as a threat because there is a great deal of uncertainty involved in implementing change within that organization.  As creatures of habit, we become accustomed to the routine of the current state.  Small perturbations, those get filed in the "annoying, but we have a process to deal with that" bin.  Larger changes, however, usually get met with the most dangerous phrase in any language: "but, we've always done it this way."  This is one of the most frustrating responses to come up against as a leader.  To start with, it's not even remotely true; as the organization hasn't always done it any specific way.  If that were the case, we'd be stuck in the Stone Age, working on developing the wheel.  More frustrating, however, is the fact that the people that choose this paradigm don't even acknowledge the possibility of change being positive - for their own benefit.  They ignore the fact that, as a person, they themselves have changed, evolved and been formed by their experiences.  The mentality that "we've always done it this way" doesn't just halt change, it drives the organization in reverse.  It becomes narrow-minded, losing focus on the strategic picture in favor of protecting a small aspect of the organization.  It is the mentality of failure.  A tremendous amount of energy is required to overcome this inertia.  Working within the "accepted" small perturbations is a good place to start.  Start small, build momentum, and gradually larger steps can be taken. 


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