The Change Artist brings Carla Rieger's powerful recipe for mastering self change into a compelling story format.
The story begins with the troubled relationship between an adult daughter and her dying father.
The novel, The Change Artist, explores among other things the challenges of being an innovative leader that has integrity.
People attracted to leading change are often revolutionary types who have an axe to grind, who regularly break down old ways of being to create something new, who are brilliant at envisioning new ideas and have a charismatic way of expressing their ideas. Tied to integrity, accountability and sustainability, these kinds of people have brought forth important change throughout history. If that vision lacks integrity and sustainability, and there is no accountability in place, then invariably that change will be unsuccessful at best, or severely destructive at worst, as in the case of Enron or the Nazi regime.
Change Artist leaders such as Gandhi or Steve Jobs of Apple tend to have a softer but more sustainable approach. The difference could be likened to the tortoise versus the hare.
Revolutionary leaders tend to take a radical stance on change, demolishing the old status quo without buy in from stakeholders. Change Artist leaders tend to marry tradition with innovation to find the best of both worlds, including others in the decision-making.
Revolutionaries often act in covert ways to bring down the old status quo, whereas Change Artists keep lines of communication open so that the process is transparent to those who will be affected by the change.
Revolutionaries tend to get alienated or marginalized from the channels of power that could ultimately support them. Change Artists work to win people over to their ideas through including diverse points of view.
Revolutionaries tend to focus on concepts and visions to the exclusion of practicalities. Change Artists tend to ground their visionary concepts in case studies and practical terms appropriate for the context.
Revolutionaries are often driven by a desire to be recognized as the architect of a new vision. Change Artists are driven by the desire to let the vision grow organically in a way that bests serves all those concerned.
Revolutionaries want to see the change happen in a fast and exciting way. Change Artists want to see the change happen in a way that keeps stakeholders engaged and on board.
Revolutionaries are known to disrespect and diminish those who still value the existing status quo and will actually sabotage what they value. Change Artists explore diverse points of view to find the overlap of values between all those concerned. They also stick around to see the idea implemented, using persistence through the debugging phase.
In short, Change Artists bring forth the kind of change that has integrity and sustainability. Often you will find that a Change Artist is someone who has tried the Revolutionary approach and learned from it. They then used that experience to ground them into leading a change that is sustainable.
Change leaders can become targets. Often the person who suggests a new idea gets shot down by people who are uncomfortable with change. There are plenty of examples throughout history of people who stood for change getting assassinated or vilified. It’s no wonder we keep our mouths shut.
There are inherent forces within nature to create, to stay the same for a while, then to destroy. It’s the cycle of life that also affects people. There are times in a person’s life (and times in history) when we need to release the old to make room for something new. This transition can trigger turmoil as the energy of one fights against the other, like two chemicals in a test tube. Finally, the two become one and a third entity emerges. The Phoenix rises from the ashes of the old. The new tree grows from the dead trunk of a mother tree.
If we keep our mouths shut when it’s clear a change is needed there can be negative consequences. Stifling your creative ideas, can undermine your own well being but also those you serve. Leading change comes with risks, but if that is your path then life tends to mysteriously show up to help. Choosing the path of a change artist requires you to have certain habits so that you can be as resilient as possible.
Here is Carla Rieger talking about The Change Artist, a novel about the perils of denying your creativity. It explores one woman’s path of reconnecting to her creative heritage and habits she needed to become a leader of change.
In an era when only the “creatively resilient” among us are surviving it helps to remember that all of us have this ability. To be a Change Artist is simply to reconnect to the archetype of the artist within us all. As Pablo Picasso once said, “”Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”
Or, as David Whyte says, “When you neglect your creative energies they work away at you and almost blacken the inside of you like creosote. One of the first steps is to simply create a sense of spaciousness, to give you room to take flight.”
Here is a TV commercial you have probably seen from the 1990′s called “Think Different”. The concepts bears revisiting because this is a time in history when we all need to recapture the artist within to reinvent our personal lives, our work lives and our organizations.
This was an advertising slogan and TV commercial created for Apple Computer. The one-minute commercial features black and white video footage of significant historical people of the past, including (in order):
Martin Luther King, Jr.
John Lennon (with Yoko Ono)
R. Buckminster Fuller
Jim Henson (with Kermit the Frog)
Frank Lloyd Wright
The commercial ends with an image of a young girl, Shaan Sahota, opening her closed eyes, as if to see the possibilities before her.
“Remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible but in the end, they always fall — think of it, ALWAYS.” – Mahatma Gandhi
Creativity and innovation without integrity is, by universal law, unsustainable. We see this throughout history with investors like Bernie Madoff, or companies like Enron, or political leaders like Hitler. They impress people at first with their “innovative” way of changing things for the better. But if the innovation isn’t based in integrity then it cannot be sustained and eventually the leaders self-destruct and those that follow them lose out.
The Change Artist within us all is the archetype of the dreamweaver. It’s the part of us that can re-program our virtual reality movie. However, have you noticed that it doesn’t always create a rosy picture of health, wealth and happiness? Sometimes The Change Artist attracts challenge, loss and hardship into your life. Maybe these are opportunities to grow, to learn how to live more in harmony with universal laws, to make ourselves right with the world again. You cannot learn about integrity unless you transgress it from time to time and most humans have done that in big ways or small at some time in their lives. Like a child learning how to walk, we take a step and fall, then get back up and try again.
The suspense novel, The Change Artist, was recently reviewed by Clare Swindlehurst in her Blue Archipelago book blog in the UK. The novel explores how three people in three different generations of the same family deal with change, creativity and integrity in their own lives. The story goes back and forth through time and spans from the early 1930′s to the 21st century, and is inspired by true events of those who have suffered great loss but then found their way back to creativity with integrity.
Alvin Toffler, the famous Futurist, once said that, “The ability to creatively handle constant change will be the most sought after skill in the 21st Century.” Also, Pablo Picasso once said that, “Everyone is born an artist. The trick is to re-capture that innate ability as an adult and put it into all aspects of life.”
I think people are more likely to be creative artists of change not through intellectual reasoning by through daily habits. That’s why I run events open to the public for staying creatively adapted in uncertain times.
People who can lead, adapt, innovate, and facilitate while facing constant change are the leaders of the future. An “artist of change” sees how to benefit from changes affecting their life, can create their own change process, and can build a culture of innovation wherever they go. There are simple habits anyone can apply daily that will allow you to:
* do things you didn’t think you could do
* find a way to benefit from a change that seems “bad” as first glance
* thrive during uncertainty and be a living bridge for others in that regard
* move from being reactive about change, challenge and conflict to being proactive
The Artistry of Change is an innovative system that blends diverse fields such as educational kinesiology, western and eastern psychology, change management theory, creative process models, and neuroscience. Witness how these fields are merging in exciting ways to produce the new ‘business artistry’.
Three public seminars across Canada and a retreat are coming up this year entitled “The Artistry of Change: The Top Creativity habits of People Who Will Thrive in the Coming Decade.”
They are in Edmonton on Apr. 28, in Winnipeg on May 14, and in Vancouver on June 17. There is also a 4 day retreat October 1-4 at Hollyhock Retreat Centre.
You can read more about these events http://www.carlarieger.com/artistry_of_change_seminar/