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5.2 Getting Things Done When Not in Charge

Geoffrey Bellman is an organizational development consultant who has written a national best seller about being a change champion. In his book, he says that in order to work effectively with other people over whom you have no authority, it is important to start out by being clear about what you want. Specifically, he states, “Clarity about your vision of what you want increases the likelihood you will reach for it.”Bellman (2001), p. 118.

He adds that “when we are not doing what we want to do, we are doing what others want us to do.”Bellman (2001), p. 21. In essence, he argues for the power of an authentic life over the power of organizationally backed authority. One of the implications of such a posture is that becoming a change champion within an organization requires that you be prepared to leave it when or if your life’s purpose cannot be pursued. Bellman states it well: “Worse that losing a job is keeping a job in which you are not respected, or not listened to, or not consulted, or not influential, or…you name it, it is your fear.”Bellman (2001), pp. 110–111.

Similar to other observers, Bellman argues that by keeping the combined interests of yourself and others in mind, you will get things done when not in charge. However, he further adds that many changes and change visions must wait for the proper time to act. In other words, change champions must be politically astute in their timing of change initiatives as they consider the evolving interests of others along with the evolving interests of themselves.