The fourth principle of Advance Change Theory (ACT) is a tough one. As purposeful actors trying to change others through changing ourselves, we begin our inward journey confronting our integrity gaps by clarifying our values and struggling to align our behavior with those values. To continue down this path, we have to reach the place where we are willing to do what is right for the shared purpose instead of what is expedient or popular.
To practice ACT, individuals must be able to go against the status quo, freeing the self from external sanctions while pursuing an internalized vision. The freedom to live in the present increases the capacity to feel the real needs of others. (p. 152).
The shared purpose is what really matters to us. It is the only thing that merits our loyalty. When we meet other purposeful actors, we care about what they think because what they think matters.
We are going to run into a LOT of egocentric folks at work that care about purpose only to the extent that it furthers their own agenda. As leaders, we cannot relieve ourselves of the responsibility of caring about these folks, but what they think about us simply does not matter.
I find it exhilarating to care about what matters and liberating to stop caring about what does not. But even the selfish folks reach this point. Keep your eye on the purpose – it is true north on your compass of transformational change.