Important Ideas on Change and Transitions: A Frontline Festival

Welcome back to the  Let’s Grow Leaders Frontline Festival. June’s Festival is all about change and transitions. We have a record line-up of impressive thought leaders. Thanks to Joy and Tom Guthrie of Vizwerx for their awesome pic (see right). Follow @joy_guthrie. A special thanks also goes to LGL intern Ben Evans.

Leading Change

“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” –John F. Kennedy

Kate Nasser of Smart SenseAbilities brings us Leaders, Leading Change Within Yourself Changes Everything. Kate reminds leaders, that if you want to effect change in your organization, first change your behaviors and actions. Then watch the waterfall of change begin. Start with these 5 steps. Follow Kate @KateNasser

Tanveer Naseer of Tanveer Naseer Leadership brings us How Leaders Can Successfully Champion ChangeLearn about 3 lessons from the political realm that inform us on how leaders can successfully champion change initiatives in their organization. Follow Tanveer @TanveerNaseer

Mary Jo Asmus of Aspire-CS offers Being the Change.  Your next promotion won’t happen until you “be the change” that those who have your career in their hands expect to see.  Follow Mary Jo @mjasmus

Julie Giulioni of shares Growth: It’s No Longer Optional In today’s hyper-competitive environment, change and growth are no longer optional; they’re non-negotiable. Follow Julie @julie_wg

Bob Whipple of brings us Leading Change Initiatives. He outlines essential steps for successful change among leaders. Follow Bob @rwhipple

Bill Benoist of Leadership Heart Coaching shares Accepting Change. Leaders are supposed to embrace change, right? Even the best of us have trouble accepting change on occasion. Follow Bill @leadershipheart

Artika Tyner of Planting People. Growing Justice shares 6 Leadership Quotes for Leading Social Change. This blog offers practical advice on leading change by discovering your authentic voice, finding your purpose, and empowering others to lead. Follow Artika @DrArtikaTyner

Jon Mertz of Thin Difference offers VUCA Times Call for DURT LeadersChange is defined in many ways, and one way is VUCA: Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous. Leaders need to step up their character and capabilities to navigate change effectively. Follow Jon @ThinDifference

Jeff Miller of The Faithful Pacesetters brings us An Agent of Change. We all think things are always getting worse…don’t we? John the Baptist knew that Jesus would bring a better future for all people of the earth. Leaders can also provide an improved future for others by promoting the proper changes needed. Follow Jeff @JeffJayMiller

Michelle Pallas of shares The Door to Change Opens From Within.  If we ask others to change without changing something about ourselves, success is unlikely. Follow Michelle @MichellePallas

Brian Sooy of Lead Change Group offers Positive Communication Leads to a Culture of Innovation. This post challenges leaders as to whether or not they are truly comfortable with change.  Follow Brian @BrianSooy

Overcoming Resistance to Change

“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” –George Bernard Shaw

Alli Polin of Break the Frame shares Want Someone to Change? You Go First. No matter how much you want someone to change, it’s not up to you. Follow Alli @AlliPolin

Jesse Lynn Stoner, Seapoint Center shares great insights in her post Create an Unbalancing Force if You Want To Move an Elephant. Vision alone is not enough to create change. Neither is focusing solely on pressing issues. Newton’s First Law explains how to overcome resistance to change. Follow Jesse @JesseLynStoner

Bernie Nagle of ZunZhong brings us ‘Power Undies’ Makes You Fly? Resonant, conscious leaders are able overcome the natural human tendency to resist change, and are able to embrace the “new”. Follow Bernie @altrupreneur

Martin Webster from Leadership Thoughts offers Why Some Business Problems Almost Always Can’t Be SolvedMartin discusses the complexity of leading organizational change and the soft skills needed to lead successful change projects. Follow Martin @tristanwember

David Dye of Engage! brings us How to Stop Burning Emotional Energy. Your body turns over 98% of its atoms every year! Change is a constant, but how we react to it is a choice. In this article, David shares a practical tool you can use to reduce and eliminate wasted change-related emotional energy. Follow David @DavidMDye

Managing Through Career and Life Changes

“For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.” –Steve Jobs

Chantal Bechervaise of Take it Personel-ly shares Have You Chosen Your Future?Dreams and vague hopes are not choices. You have to make a choice to create change. Follow Chantal @CBechervaise

Steve Broe of My Career Intact brings us How to be a Fast Mover in Your Career Change. Steve reminds us to be impatient, and be disciplined too. A career change can be difficult, and highly worthwhile. Follow Steve @DrSteveBroe

Jennifer V. Miller of The People Equation brings us 9 Things Team Members Want to Know About the New Boss, but Won’t Ask. Jennifer reminds us that during leadership transitions, new team members are highly curious about the incoming boss. But they won’t always ask what’s on their mind. Here’s what new leaders should be prepared to answer. Follow Jennifer @JenniferVMiller

Blair Glaser of shares Soul Fetch: The Art of Transitioning between Work and Life. Sometimes major life transitions can be handled more gracefully if we master the small ones. How do you transition from work mode to play mode everyday? Follow Blair @BlairGlaser

Monique Valcour of the Harvard Business Review Blog Network shares If You’re Not Helping People Develop, You’re Not Management MaterialFacilitating employee learning and development is an essential competency for every manager. Here’s why—and how to do better at it. Follow Monique @MoniqueValcour

Subha Balagopal of The Principal’s Pen brings us “Are You Wearing Your Seat Belt?” ~ Tips for New Principals. Reflecting on her journey as a school principal and with a spirit of ‘paying it forward’ Subha shares some tips for individuals preparing to step into new school leadership roles. Follow Subha @PrincipalsPen2

Communicating Well During Times of Change

“When you blame others, you give up your power to change.” –Robert Anthony

 Julie Pierce of Empowered by Pierce offers 5 Ways to Fill in the Blanks in Your Change Communication Plans. Ever felt like you needed to say something about the big change but aren’t at liberty to say anything? Leadership Coach Julie Pierce shares 5 ways to avoid Mad Libs leadership by filling in the blanks for your team. Follow Julie @Julie_Pierce

John Hunter of Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog offers Communicating Change. John believes the best way to communicate significant change is to explain how the change ties to the long term vision of the organization. This, of course, requires that such a vision actually exists and the change supports that vision. Follow John @curiouscat_com

Julie Pierce of Empowered by Pierce offers The Magical Mantra for Staying on Track With Change. Ever start in the direction of the new only to find yourself stumbling back towards the old? Leadership Coach Julie Pierce offers a key phrase for any successful change. Follow Julie @julie_pierce

Tom Eakin of The BoomBlog offers Don’t Doom Your Change Initiatives With This Word! There is one word most of us use when we talk about changing things for the better. When we use it, we reduce the probability that change will actually happen. Follow Tom @goboomlife

Making Elegant Transitions

“If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” –Frederick Douglass

 Linda Fisher Thornton of Leading in Context shares Ethics Isn’t Finite: It’s Evolving. As we strive to build ethical organizations, we must remember that our target is moving. As the world changes, ethical expectations change. Follow Linda @leadingincontxt

Frank Sonnenberg of Frank Sonnenberg Online brings us 13 Ways to Destroy Creativity and Innovation. Do you encourage innovation? Here are 13 ways that people destroy creativity and innovation every day. Follow Frank @FSonnenberg

Matt McWilliams of shares What Great Leaders do in a CrisisGreat leaders thrive in a crisis. It’s when times are toughest and everyone around is shirking responsibility and running away, that great leaders shine. Follow Matt @MattMcWilliams2

Lisa Kohn from the Thoughtful Leaders Blog brings us Change is a Chance to Grow. If we don’t change we stagnate – we don’t really grow. By limiting ourselves to what we already know how to do and what we’ve already experienced, we limit how much we really live. Follow Lisa @ThoughtfulLdrsFrontLine2014picmonkey

Coming Soon

Interested in submitting a post for an upcoming Frontline Festival? Here’s the editorial calendar (click to enlarge). Now accepting July submission. Click here to submit.

Transitions: An Inspiring Story Of Meaningful Work

Today’s post is from Bill Holston, Executive Director at Human Rights Initiative of Northern Texas. Bill is a regular comm-enter in our LGL community. As I’ve gotten to know Bill, I’ve been inspired by his amazing career transition. The work his team is doing changes and saves lives. I invited him to share his story. He offers insights about moving toward your calling, transitioning to an executive role, and leading in a mostly volunteer environment.

The Transition from Attorney to NGO Leader

For more than 30 years I practiced business law. I enjoyed the intellectual challenge. But over time, I realized my passions lay elsewhere, inspired by the volunteer work I had done over the years.

The journey began 25 years ago when I said yes to a pro bono political asylum case representing Martha, a young mother. Her husband was a truckers’ union leader in Guatemala, killed by a death squad. When Marta received death threats, she fled her country. I helped her win asylum and was totally hooked. Since that first case, I’ve represented people from twenty different countries. I took the cases as a volunteer with the Human Rights Initiative of North Texas, a local non-profit. Two years ago, the position of executive director opened. My wife and I talked it over and I decided to apply. I was 55 and ready for new challenges.

The beauty of the organization I lead is the pro bono model. We recruit and train volunteers to do the work. This permitted us last year to do almost four million dollars of free legal work, with a staff of only ten. The cases are extremely time-consuming. Many of our volunteers are from big law firms, and all have very busy practices. We clearly communicate the level of commitment. They do the work, because it is extremely rewarding. They get to do for once, what they imagined doing as a lawyer, changing, even saving lives. Another key to our success is recruiting a talented staff, who make sure that we are accepting cases worthy of our volunteers time and providing first class training and supervision of the casework. We do not hand over a file and wish them good luck.

The transition from lawyer to executive has been difficult. Of course I had passion for the mission, but there are many tasks I had to learn. As a small shop, I pay the bills, do the HR, and do development work. My primary role, however is to provide leadership to our team. It’s my responsibility to guide our extremely dedicated staff to do emotionally difficult work, with limited resources, with a commitment to excellence.

The most difficult part of the transition has been learning how to set priorities. It’s challenging to determine exactly what the best use of my time is. Thankfully, I’ve found the thing I enjoy the most is the best use, that is relationship building with our staff, volunteers, Board, and media.

Considering a Transition?

Maybe some of you are considering a transition. First, let’s talk money. I was able to pursue this passion at this stage of life primarily because of my lifestyle choices. My wife and I have avoided debt and live in the same modest house we purchased in 1986. Because our values coincide, we can afford to live on a non-profit paycheck. Next, you should be working as a volunteer in order to know first of all what mission interests you and second learning the work from the ground up. Pay attention to building good relationships in your community. These will prove invaluable.

Meaningful Work

So, what has our team accomplished? Among many others, we helped a young aid worker from Zimbabwe, tortured for whom he chose to deliver food to. We helped a young woman avoid the brutal practice of female genital mutilation.

We assisted a young man from El Salvador, who refused to join a violent street gang. They took him, slit his throat and left him for dead. These are sobering stories, but because of our volunteers, all these people are obtaining legal status and live free and safe lives in America. I’ve never looked back.

Hear Bill share his story in his Ignite speech.