We All Want A Scapegoat


Change is indeed the only constant. Interpreting that can easily lead to many outcomes. Perhaps it means that change is always afoot. Or, it could mean that no-thing every really changes. Alternative, it means many other things too. I’d like to focus on the ‘no-thing ever changes’ idea.

In a recent SUCCESS Magazine article Chelsea Greenwood interviewed author John C. Maxwell about his latest book, The 15 Laws of Growth. In the article, Mr. Maxwell reflects on a passage from a book he read in the seventh grade by James Allen named As a Man Thinketh published in 1902:

“Men are anxious to improve their circumstances, but are unwilling to improve themselves. They therefore remain bound.”

As a consultant impassioned for the discipline of change management, I am acutely conscious of many initiatives where change is purported as overarching goal. Sadly, systems, circumstances, and worse still, other people, are the target of these initiatives. Here, failure is certain. Why then, do we still skip over the single most important step in real change management – change of self?

When we set out to change entities external to ourselves and not including ourselves, we establish two things. First are the boundaries of our comfort zone. By releasing ourselves from the change process, we are guarded from learning things about ourselves that are difficult to accept. Moreover, we avoid facing new ideas and beliefs that challenge what we have come to hold as truths. Welcoming both of these confrontations are necessary for personal growth. Without them growth will not occur. Not today, not tomorrow, not ever!

The second thing we establish by excluding ourselves is immunity from blame. If the externalities we sought to change do not change, the “fault” can plausibly – or at least ostensibly – be placed elsewhere. If we stand firm and rigid, the thought goes, it is much easier to defend ourselves. We need that scapegoat.

What I want to leave you with is this: when we do first seek change in self first, our eyes become much more open to many things, not the least of which are the following two. First, greater possibilites emerge by the shear notion that we become more accepting of challenging thoughts. Second, and more importantly in my view, the personal growth inherent in purposeful self-change provides us each with greater self-confidence to not allow blame or shame to overcome us when we have missteps along the path to growth.

If infants gave up walking after a few stumbles, we would all be crawling around on all fours. They see the change they want (to be upright like those around them) and with determination, they become the change they want in the would.

As always, thoughts and feedback are always welcome.

Thanks for reading, have Great Day!

Matt G.

About Matt Gorman

Life-long learner. Collaboration enthusiast. Avid cyclist.
This entry was posted in Business Relationships, Change Management, Leadership, Management, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to We All Want A Scapegoat

  1. Bogie Rosypal says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more, Matt. My current client is looking to change the way their organization does things; to collaborate where there are currently silos, to do things right first time, to prevent human error. Through the questions and comments I receive from my audience, I can see where the message has taken root and has a chance to grow – it is with those who internalize the change necessitated. Those who choose to look for change around them to occur in order to validate success are the key stumbling blocks to success for the system, at the ultimate cost of thousands of lives around the world.

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