Dynamic Leadership 4.1 – Manage Change

How do you manage change? 

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Hello Mr/s President, Madam Toastmaster and fellow Toastmasters, and especially your new member Marion Gordon. I wish you the very best in your Toastmasters career Marion. Thank you all very much for your warm and kind welcome and for allowing me to speak to you this evening. 

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My name is Emily and the real situation of change that I am going to talk to you about this evening, is when I moved to London to enrol in my first degree. I was born in London and moved home at about a month old, I had been to visit an Uncle of mine who lived there when I was 10, but, for reasons I won’t go into here, I had a curiosity and questions about London, and my time there as a baby that I did not want to ask my Mother. When I find myself in a situation where I need answers to something, I go and get those answers. The difficulty for my family is that I am an only child who knows her own mind, has a strong independent streak and keeps her own counsel, this means that my habit is to present a completed plan to them. This allows me to be able to answer all their questions and show that I have thought it all through. The aim is to try and prevent there being an argument or a debate, as I never want to upset people. In this instance, the only thing I had not booked was my flight. At this stage, I had analysed the circumstances of the change, knew my objectives, had considered my options, and I knew I had to communicate the plan to my family.

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Roy T. Bennett said that “It’s only after you’ve stepped outside of your comfort zone that you begin to change, grow, and transform” 

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According to the ‘Prepare for Change’ Project, you are meant to have a timeframe for the various stages of the plan. Having decided I was definitely going to London, the timeframe was already dealt with, as I had hard deadline that had to be met, I had to be enrolled in college by a certain date and I needed to get everything completed before then. You are also meant to break the plan up into short, medium and long term goals. In this case the short time goals were to get accepted to the college, complete an interview with the head of the course, get all the information about the accommodation options, and any other sundry practical information that I might need. Most of these tasks were all dealt with in one long conversation with a woman named Biddy Peppin, Biddy was very helpful and patient in answering all my questions.

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Once I had all the details nailed down, the Medium term goals were to pluck up the courage to tell my family what was happening and to get to Freshers Week. I was pretty much brought up by my Grandmother and Aunt, so they were the ones I worried about most. I knew that there was going to be resistance to the change and that they were not going to be one bit thrilled or enthusiastic about my plan, as I was always quite sheltered. But, I have always had a massive interest in everything and wanted to see what the rest of the world had to offer. We have family in London, so I was hoping that this fact might make things a bit easier for my Gran and Aunt, as they knew that there would be people I could contact if things went wrong. I used this as a way of helping to sell my plan to my family. The timing had to be perfect, as for diplomatic reasons, I needed to communicate the plan to my Grandmother, Aunt and Mother in as close a timeframe as possible to both each other and to give them sufficient time for them to acclimatise to what I was doing. 

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I had to get my family invested in the plan, it took some time, at one point, I reminded my Grandmother that she had moved to London after the second World War from the West of Ireland, which I’m sure her parents were not thrilled with. I told them I would be back frequently, a promise I kept. I told them I would just be at the end of the phone, which lead to one particularly obscenely massive phone bill. My mother accompanied me to London for Freshers Week and she saw my accommodation, where I living, and was able to feed back a full report to the rest of my family at home. 

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The long term goals were to get to London, enter student life, see what London life had to offer, answer some of the questions in my own mind, complete the Degree, make some lifelong friends and have a great time. I’m pleased to report that even though some family members thought I would not make it past Freshers Week, everything went well and in time my Grandmother would say that although she was opposed to the plan originally, that she actually thought it was the best decision I had made. As George Bernard Shaw said “Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything”

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Mr/s President, Madam Toastmaster and fellow Toastmasters, my question for all of us is if there is something you would like to change “if not now, when?” Thank you.

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