Everybody thinks of changing humanity and nobody thinks of changing himself." Leo Tolstoy
Powerlessness is one of the most seductive and endemic conditions in today's organizations and perhaps our culture as a whole. It is not hard to defend why this is the case and, as with many phenomena, it is not necessarily sinister…it just is what it is. Considering the magnitude of conditions that are in obvious need of adjustment, it is not surprising that people look at the big picture and see no way that they can have an impact.
We often think about changes to others and not about changes to ourselves because it never occurs to us that we are part of the system we want to change. We have a habit of seeing ourselves outside of the system as observers, rather than players. Tolstoy's comment can be seen more as a statement of fact (and concern) rather than criticism. But it is up to each of us, and within our accountability, to ask what role we are playing in the larger picture of change. Culture is collective and is the result of the participation of all parties involved.