Monday, June 1, 2015

"You want to run around in circles inspiring people to run around in circles."

I have a list of phrases that bother me. Like "throw out some dates" or any noun preceded by the word "per." The latest addition to that list is any title that includes the word "change," as illustrated in the following conversation:

"Hi, Matt. Nice to meet you."

"Nice to meet you, too. Where do you work?"

"Oh, I'm between jobs. Kind of looking around for a company that needs a paradigm shift. Usually, CEOs hire me to be a change agent."

"That's great! What do you change them into?"

"Um, you know, just stir things up. Be more modern."

"More modern how?"

"Like, the Internet!"

"What about it?"

"Its possibilities! I'm like a spark plug. I get people excited."

"About the Internet?"

"No! About change."

"What kind of change?"

"Change for the better."

"No kidding? Change is by definition transitive. What will the change produce? What does the company look like as a result? Has anyone outlined a goal or a vision for the future?"

"Well, I don't deal with day-to-day measurements."

"I didn't ask for any."

"I'm more of an evangelist."

"For what?"

"Change. I'm a change evangelist."

"Are you messing with me on purpose?"

"Oh, I get it. You're afraid of change."

"No, I'm not afraid of change. Some days I crave it. Other days it's just a fact of life, like breathing and dealing with idiots. But I am wary of change that isn't accompanied by vision. And in the absence of evidence to the contrary, I'm going to have to assume that you call yourself a 'change agent' because you have no ideas, no skills and no work ethic. Therefore you're trying to assume a title that precludes you from having to produce any sort of actual results. You want to run around in circles inspiring people to run around in circles. That's not change. It's just a waste of time."

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