Lead by Example – Gandhi’s Story

Effective Change Management

When managing change in an organisation, it is sometimes challenging to get everyone on the same page and to ensure the changes are embedded and approached as an ongoing process for continuous improvement. There are many elements that are important for an effective change program, however there is one that truly sticks out..

Have you heard this story about Gandhi and the woman who’s son was addicted to sugar? No? Then keep reading!

Gandhi’s Story

“The story is about a woman whose son was addicted to sugar. No matter what she did she could not fix this addiction in her son. Doctors, friends and relatives all told the young boy to stop eating sugar because it is not good for him, but he wouldn’t listen. Finally the mother decided to take her son to see Gandhi to see if the son would listen to this well respected, wise and pious man.

They waited in line to meet Gandhi for a very long time and when they finally got to him the mother explained that her son was addicted to sugar. She told Gandhi her son would not listen to anyone telling him not to eat sugar, but surely he will listen to you. Gandhi told the woman to come back in two weeks and he would help them. The woman was confused, but did what he said.

Two weeks later the mother and son returned to Gandhi. The mother explained to Gandhi that they had been there two weeks before and that her son is still addicted to sugar. Gandhi looked at the boy and said, “Son, you should stop eating sugar”. The mother was again confused and asked Gandhi why they had to wait two weeks when that was all he was going to say. Gandhi replied, “Two weeks ago I myself was addicted to sugar. How can I tell somebody else to stop doing something, when I am doing that same thing?””

Lead by Example

What does this story teach you? As a leader, you (un)consciously influence the behaviour of your team(s). It is therefore imperative you actively demonstrate the change you are trying to embed and display the desired mindset & behaviour yourself. In other words, always lead by example!

When you lead by example, you create a picture of what’s possible. People can look at you and say, “Well, if they can do it, so can I.” What does this mean for you? If you give yourself to your team and show them the way, then, most likely, they’ll follow you anywhere.

We would love to work with you to help your organisation embed new ways of working. Let’s chat about how Change & Ways can help.