The Illusion of Successful change requires the top person

uwe.weissflog Uwe.Weissflog at
Thu Feb 22 01:55:31 PST 2001

Dear Peggy,

your observation points to the core of our challenge. I like to comment in
particular to the following part of it:

"As long as people believe that change requires active involvement from the top,
this is true.

It is self-fulfilling because those not at the top have either consciously
or unconsciously given away their power to have an impact.  And those at the
top either consciously or unconsciously accept that power as theirs to wield
as they see fit."

In my view your are also pointing to an even deeper level, which is rooted in
our desire to be safe and taken care of. I'm becoming more aware lately that
those who follow not only "suffer" but in a strange way also gain. What is
gained might be perceived as security or being taken care of. We might consider
that "growing up", i.e. taking care of ourselves with integrity and full
responsibility is a process that requires much energy and courage. By playing
the role of "following" we relinguish this responsibility to someone else. Much
like having surrogate parents. During my coaching education at New Ventures West
I came across an excerpt from A.H.Almaas, Diamond Heart, chapter One - Growing
Up. For those interested, it makes the point very clear. So for me the questions
expands into: How much do we really want to grow up? And, what would this really
mean for our societies?

My emerging view is that the leader/follower conversation in terms of
polarization leads into a dead end. We need both, leaders and followers
interacting more like in a dance. In my view it is the diversity of a group and
the absolute adherence to the principle that no one is "better or worse",
"higher or lower" just because of the capabilities he or she brings to the
group. This I believe is the second great obstacle for all - we want to be seen
as someone special but we do not want that "specialness" to seperate us.

Thanks again, Peggy for bringing this up - I always learn from your


Pathway Guidance, Rinnengaerten 1, 34516 Voehl-Marienhagen, Germany
email: uwe.weissflog at
email (personal): uwe.weissflog at
phone: 49-5635-991197; fax: 49-5635-993934

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