Shahriar Shahriari

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Message of the Month

December, 2002


Working with one of my clients, we have initiated some company-wide change. We were anticipating resistance from the rank and file. But one of the most curious things was that there is just as much resistance from the management and the very people who are paying me to be the catalyst of this change.

And it seems that the only thing I can do is to stand for the desired outcome, and be consistent and persistent, in the face of resistance.

I was thinking about change in a global scale. I remembered Gorbachev’s efforts to bring freedom in the Soviet Union. He had to face many challenges, including attempted coup d’etat and even plots on his life.

Little did he imagine that the Soviet Empire would disintegrate, and its free enterprise system would run rampant with poverty and a nationwide mafia-based economy. He could easily be heart broken, but instead, he formed the Gorbachev Foundation, working for global peace.

He is standing for what he wants to see, no matter what is the outcome.

I also thought of Gandhi, who is perhaps the epitome of change-making in the 20th century. He stood for freedom through non-violence. He represented the desired outcome until he brought freedom, with relatively little violence. But he too could have never anticipated the division of India- Pakistan along religious lines. And he too could have been heartbroken from the ensuing violence – and perhaps he was.

Yet to his dying day, he stood for non-violence and freedom.

It seems to me that the outcome of any change process is up to the prevailing psyche of the nation, the company or the group. All we can do is stand for what is possible, initiate it, and with our thoughts and beliefs and action contribute to the collective consciousness, to move what is, towards what can be.

Perhaps John Lennon summarized it best in his song when he said: "We are playing those mind games together… pushing the barriers, planting seeds... …playing those mind games forever… projecting our images in space and time…"

Change is indeed a mind game, and the projection is the result of the new and evolving consciousness of the collective.

© Shahriar Shahriari
Los Angeles, CA
December 2002

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