We just finished up a fantastic Transformational Presence Leadership and Coach Training in The Netherlands. Throughout the training, I kept seeing the image of dropping a pebble in water and the resulting ripple effect. Wherever you drop the pebble becomes the center of concentric circles in motion. If we take that metaphor to leadership, it shows us that wherever we are putting our focus becomes the centerpoint from which the energy will radiate.

We are conditioned to work from the outside in – to react to what is on the surface and to “fix” the problem. As a culture, we have become attached to quick results and quick fixes – band-aid approaches to the things that aren’t working. When we start on the outside and “drop the pebble” there, the concentric rings will not necessarily ever reach the essence of what is going on. The center of our focus will be on the outside edge of things.

However, if instead we focus our intention on working from the inside out, that means we are dropping the pebble right into the core of the situation and letting the impact of our efforts flow out from the essence. We are no longer treating symptoms, but instead getting to the source of what is going on and working out from there. While it might take a bit longer, the results are much more lasting because we have gone to the root of the issue. Our leadership can, in the end, be much more effective.

Cutting to the essence of what is going on is critical in transformational leadership. Transformation is an inside job, which then creates lasting change on the outside.

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