Do You Need A Transformation?

When you look in the mirror, who do you see? Do you see someone you love or someone you don’t like? To love yourself, you need to be able to master yourself, otherwise you will be mastered, and constantly see someone you don’t like.

When I worked in Liverpool for their train operating company, it was about 2009. I was invited on a 3 day leadership development training course with, in a group of senior managers, heads of departments, and a couple of directors.

At that time I was a project manager, so I didn’t have the same authority as the senior leaders. The course would take place in a hotel, away from Liverpool, so it was a 2 night stay over affair.

In my group there was about 20 people and they were not all senior leaders. There were some that were my level too, so we weren’t overpowered by seniority.

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It wasn’t all engineering either, there was finance, HR, operations and customer service. It was a great way to network with other people in the organisation, and to increase our influence with each other.

1. Why Do Organisations Deliver Leadership Training?

The main reason for the leadership development training, was to help the senior leaders brush up on the leadership skills. But, also to try and develop the rest of the business into leaders. At that time it was the leadership positions that were making all the decisions, and coming up with the ideas.

However, the organisation decided they wanted to change that, so that everybody else got their chance too. The concept and the purpose of the training was great, and I enjoyed the 3 days.

I felt great on the last day of the training. I felt like I had everything in front of me, and I was ready to go from employee to leader. I was transforming, and I was amazed at how the other people in my group felt the same too. All of this in just 3 short days was great.

It was great during the breaks, and when we had dinner in the evening. We were talking about the changes we wanted to make. I didn’t have my own team back then, but I felt like I could make a difference in the teams I was working with. Everybody was so positive, and was full of ideas.

When the final day of training ended, we were all asked to give a 5 minute talk on what we had learned. We had to plan what we were going to take away, and how we were going to implement what we had learned. The first person to speak was one of the senior leaders, however he didn’t seem to be as upbeat, or as positive as the rest of us.

2. Do You Put Into Action What You Learn?

A couple of his team members took the same 3 day course two weeks earlier than us, and he said that when they came back to work, they were positive, and wanted to make a difference. Then after a couple of days, they went straight back to the way they were before they took the course. They went back to being negative and bitter.

Then, as soon as he said that, the other senior managers basically agreed with him. They had the same issue with their team members who had also previously taken the course.

The course trainer asked this particular senior leader to go into more detail, and he basically just said, “The guys came back from your 3 day course, and they were really excited with what they learned, and what they were going to do. But, after a couple of days the fire that was burning inside them went out, and they fell back into their old routine of waiting to be told what to do.”

I saw this as an opportunity for me to make a contribution to the group, so I interrupted and asked, “What are your thoughts on why this happened?”

He replied to me by just shrugging his shoulders, basically telling me he didn’t know why, and that he hadn’t even thought about it. I didn’t want to overstep the mark with this person, but I wanted to help him.

So, I told him, “They went back to their normal selves again because of you.” He gave me a dirty look and said, “What would you know, you’ve never managed a team before.” I didn’t reply to that, and the rest of the group stayed silent for a minute or so.

3. Do You Embrace Opportunities To Help Others?

But, what I was trying to do was to help him look within himself, and take responsibility for his team. Not to look outwards and blame his team members.

The course trainer took this conversation over from me, and then said to the senior leader, “I agree with Tom. They have come to my course and learned new skills, and were excited to make a difference. Did you allow them to? Or, did you create the environment for them so they had the opportunity to make that difference?”

He said, “I suppose not.” I could tell that this leader did not lead his team well, and was an insecure leader. The trainer knew this too.

I knew that the same thing was going to happen to everyone in every single group. They would come in for 3 days, change themselves and their thoughts. Then when they go back to work they will be exactly the same as they were before.

So, we didn’t and couldn’t truly transform ourselves during those 3 days, so we went back to normal. This indeed was the case with every team member. The sad thing was, the leaders blamed the trainers. They said that there training wasn’t good enough.

When in reality, the reason the team members went back to being their old selves, is because of the leaders of the company. They were unable to lead their teams at the level required.

During the course, every team member was released to pursue their leadership potential. Then when they came back to work, their leaders drove all the positivity and hope out of them. So, the team went back to only doing what was expected of them, and being told what to do.

The leaders were not willing to make the sacrifices required to work on themselves every day. So, they would never be able to transform into highly effective leaders. As the leader didn’t make those sacrifices, their team suffered. They were not inspired or motivated to go the extra mile, and could not follow a positive role model’s example.

4. How are you feeling about transforming yourself?

Are you going to be the same way as we were in 2009? Are you going to go back to work, and your life being exactly the same way as you were before?

Or, are you going to sustain, and apply what you learn by taking action? Are you going to transform yourself by working on yourself every day? Are you going to strive towards developing into a highly effective leader?

Are you going to help your team to do the same? Are you going to increase your influence with them, so they can increase their influence and multiply yours? Are you willing to make the sacrifices required to get to where you want to be?

I hope you decide to work on yourself every day, and I hope you decide to develop and grow into a highly effective leader. When I read my first leadership book and attended my first course, I made the same decision, and I have been working on myself every day.

If you make the same decision as I did, then your opportunities to lead will be limitless. Your opportunities to advance your leadership skills, and career will open up to you. Just keep working on yourself every day.

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If you decide to not do anything, and go back to the way you were before then this post and website has been a waste of time for you.

To transform yourself and your team, it is hard work, and you need to have strength to be able to do it. If you decide to transform. If you decide to work on yourself, and help others to do the same then you will become a highly effective leader.

You will touch many people’s lives, and you will make the difference that you are craving to make. So, do you want to just change or do you want to transform? The decision is yours!

When change happens, do you embrace it or do you run away from it?

I welcome hearing how this post has influenced the way you think, the way you lead, or the results you have achieved because of what you’ve learned in it. Please feel free to share your thoughts with me by commenting below.

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All the best,

Tom (Lead, Grow, Influence)

33 thoughts on “Do You Need A Transformation?

  1. You ask the question and the answer is both! I read the full article and its true! I wish that I belonged in a place where everyone could get together, exchange ideas and find ones that work to help the company grow and more productive.

    When I worked for Cabelas a few years ago. I was a cashier there to start with. I’ve never seen such an over complicated cashier system in my life! when I learned the system, I created a PDF for speeding up the learning curve. I printed it out to help my other cashier friends. They loved it!

    I sent it via email to Corporate who did nothing with it and my managers were pissed at me. I had brought it to their attention that maybe THEY should send it in, but they sat on the fence. So I sent it in hoping that they would incorporate it into the training program. They did not care enough to help others learn the system and they were serious control freaks.

    When I have my business up and running, and I have people who work with me, I will want to hear new ideas. You don’t grow and become productive and with happy employees if you don’t allow shared ideas. I will encourage it.

    1. Hi Sylvia,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m really pleased that you found the post valuable, and it sucks that your managers in your previous role didn’t implement your idea.

      Like you have said though, don’t give up on listening to others and their ideas when you are working with people in your business.

      All the best in your business.

      Tom

  2. This is so true. A lot of times we have managers and leaders that are not ready to take on the leadership role. I see people within my company that are too scared to teach what they know, in the fear that they will be replaced by the person they are teaching. We all need to work on ourselves to become a better person everyday. Now that I am a trainer, I always empower the new staff to take on responsibility and decisions on the work issues they face everyday. My goal is for them to someday replace me and leave the company in good hands.

    1. Hi Leslie,

      I love your comment. Thank you so much.

      Your goal is very similar to one of my goals which is to leave a legacy, and increase your influence so that others can increase their influence too.

      I am so happy that you found the article valuable, and if you need any further help or anything then just ask.

      All the best,

      Tom

  3. I think Richard Branson once said, “Train your people to be good enough to leave, treat them well enough to stay” That for me has resonated with me and helped me transform from a “boss” to a leader.

    Since then, my team have produced magnificent results and less stress for myself. I personally think people are scared to take a long hard look at themselfs and anaylise how they can improve.

    1. Hi Steven,

      When I wrote this post, I was actually thinking about that quote from Richard Branson. Great minds think alike.

      It’s great that you work on yourself and have transformed from a boss to a leader. The world needs more people like you.

      Keep working with your team and help them to improve, and keep working on yourself to continuously improve too.

      Well done, and all the best.

      Tom

  4. Excellent post Tom. As you rightly mentioned, leaders or would be leaders need to have self awareness and a willingness to see where they can improve and follow through. They need to see where they may be behaving through fear or insecurity. The best leaders aren’t threatened by others and will give the opportunity for others to grow and shine. If only they knew how this could benefit them so much more in terms of their own careers than trying to hold on tightly to the reins. I’ve had some great mentors/leaders in my life. They were encouraging, they pushed me to learn and they also knew when I or others could do it better than them but they weren’t threatened by it. They were successful people and I respected and loved them for their support of me. Great post Tom.

    1. Hi Martine,

      Thank you so much for your comment. I loved reading about your mentors and leaders.

      The best mentors and leaders are the ones who push you, give you the room to make mistakes, learn from them, and keep going. That is exactly what your mentors have been like, and its great to read about it.

      We need more leaders and mentors like yours in the world.

      Keep working on yourself and helping others because the world needs you.

      All the best.

      Tom

  5. Hi Tom

    So true on so many levels. Yes, I was one of those leaders but had not thought about it that way until I read this and a lightbulb moment happened, so thank you.
    It makes so much sense as to why things have happened the way they have in the past, but NOT anymore!
    This year is my year for change and taking action, which I have been doing as well as personal development, and had not seen myself as a leader.
    My goal now is to be that leader that I never knew I was and be the change I want to see.

    So pleased I took the time to read this.

    Cheers
    Jo

    1. Hi Jo,

      Thank you so much for your comment. I am really pleased that you found the post valuable.

      It’s great to read that your goal is to be the change you want to see. With your business and leading your business, your leadership skills will organically improve. Let yourself make mistakes and learn from them. Give yourself the room to improve. We need to be patient with personal development and leadership, and I know you can do it.

      All the best, and if you need any further help then just let me know.

      Tom

  6. I love this article, it almost is just an extension of one of my informational websites on wellness dimensions. (careforyourwholeself.com). Your surroundings and the atmosphere can greatly add or reduce of positively adjusting or negatively rejecting things that you have learned or habits that you acquired. Without the positivity and support things that we strive to do can seem way harder and make it seem useless.
    You made a great point of things, I am looking forward to seeing what other insights you have to offer!
    Amanda

  7. I have observed this so many times in the workplace. I’ve been fired for trying to lead and promote change with my team. Some people feel threatened by change and anyone trying to make change happen.
    Those who truly want to transform themselves are a rare asset.

    1. Hey Rachele,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Sorry to hear that you were fired for trying to bring in change. Obviously the people you worked with feared change and feared you too.

      You are a rare asset, so keep transforming and standing your ground when it comes to change.

      All the best,

      Tom

  8. I have a problem with my boss, he is my leader but he always defends his personal opinion even though it is wrong. Sometimes I just want to leave my job behind.

    1. Hi Surisi,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m so sorry to hear that you have a problem with your boss.

      If you are in the frame of mind that you want to leave your job behind, then think a lot deeper about it. Do you like your job, and do you like the company who you work for? The main reason people leave jobs is because of their boss, I have left a number of jobs because of the boss I had. It is difficult but it is something you should definitely consider if you are unhappy.

      What you should also consider is addressing the problem with your boss. Have you done this yet, or thought about it?

      If you want to discuss this in more detail then please get in touch.

      All the best,

      Tom

  9. Hi Tom,

    I never thought there were so many things to consider. Thanks for providing insight into these tips, I’m sure many people will benefit from them. I know my biggest challenge is that I read post upon post about what I’m meant to do, but when it comes to implementing the tips to transform myself, that’s where I fail.

    Very insightful, thanks for sharing it. I’m feeling more motivated after reading this!

    1. Hi Sharon,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m so pleased that you feel more motivated from reading this article, that is my aim.

      I know a lot of people (including myself) who read lots of information (too much sometimes) about “what” to do to improve something in our lives, and we get overwhelmed. It is a challenge for most of us to actually put what we learn into action. If you break it up into little plans and try not to do everything at once, you will find it a lot easier and more productive.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  10. This is a good Post Tom and a nice reminder that we all need to take a pause and reflect a little more.

    It sounds like you were working for a decent company who if nothing else was trying to give all of the course attendees the opportunity to better themselves and step up. From there though and as you rightly point out, its up to each of us to take that next step. Apply what we learn’t and hopefully in the process provide greater value to not only the company who was good enough to invest in us but also to ourselves and those around us.

    I remember very clearly that it was when I turned 40 that the penny had dropped for me and it was then that I truly learn’t how to be self aware. From there I too started to reflect more and take some of the steps that you have made us again reflect on.

    An enjoyable read – thanks fore sharing.

    1. Hi Jason,

      Thank you for your comment and it is my pleasure to share. I am so pleased that you found the article valuable.

      Thank you for sharing your experiences too, when you turned 40. It’s great that you started to reflect on things and take a step back, I am certain that you do this now a lot more and without even thinking. This is great to hear.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  11. Thank you for your excellent post. Your article and your video present many penetrating questions for anyone who wants to grow and become more and more effective as a leader. I do. I have been a student of leadership for over 40 years. I still learn new things, face new challenges and seek to grow.

    1. Hi Glenn,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m really happy that you found the article helpful.

      It is great that you want to become more and more effective as a leader, that was my aim for this and all my articles in that fact. It’s amazing that you have been a student of leadership for 40 years and are still learning new things. You really are a true leader with a learner’s mindset. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  12. While it may be easy to say, transforming yourself can be very hard. It requires a good amount of willpower to overcome whatever is keeping you from becoming a better person. Recently I have been working on transforming myself into a less possessive person and while I can’t say it was easy, it is much easier than I thought and doing so feels amazing! Thanks a lot for this inspirational article Tom!

    1. Hi Alejandro,

      Thank you for your comment. It’s great that you found this article inspirational, that was the aim for me.

      Thank you for sharing your recent work on transforming yourself into a less possessive person, this is really important not only for you but for the people you surround yourself with. If you need any help with this work then please don’t hesitate to contact me.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  13. Great article Tom. I have not always been the leader type but couldn’t agree more with the reason people go right back to the way they were before training. I’ve been a Personal Trainer for years and I’m always checking in and following up. The more I check in as a leader or follow up the more I have found people stay on track.

    This is not required for anyone but if a leader is what they want to be, then they can’t just expect to charge a fee and forget about everyone once training is over. That is unfortunate the leaders drove all the positivity and hope out of them.

    In Real Estate many fail because they don’t have good mentor. I chose one that would get a percentage of my first two sales. His leadership wasn’t that great because he never checked in on me after training. If he was a good leader I may have been successful instead of getting frustrated not knowing anything and he would have been a little richer!!

    1. Hi Bobby,

      Thank you for your very thorough comment, I appreciate it. I’m so pleased that you found the article valuable.

      Being a personal trainer for years, you will have to adopt leadership skills and principles and it’s great that you share how you follow up with clients. They will feel that you care for them and that is why they are working hard on their fitness because they feel that they are not just doing it for themselves, but for you too. That is exactly what a leader does and you are doing just that so well done and keep it up.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  14. Hi Tom. It really feel good and positive after being inspired. But in order to maintain at that inspiration state, we have to really work on ourselves especially if we are in an environment that does not feel inspiring at all. It’s really a hardwork to get transform. In order to get transform is not a second or minute kind of thing. It’s like we have to remove an old habit and replace it with a new habit and we all know that it’s not easy to change an old habit! Determination and constantly self reflection and action is required. If we can surround ourselves with more inspiring people will be better and help alot!..:)

    1. Hi Janet,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m so pleased that this article made you fell good and inspired.

      I completely agree with you that if we really want to transform, then we need to remove old habits that are getting in the way. We then need to replace that habit with a new one that will benefit our transformation. As you say, it is not easy but if we are determined enough then we will get through it and we will do it.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  15. Hi Tom,

    Another really great read.

    It amazes me, irrespective of industry, that this sounds like a carbon-copy of many of the management and leadership courses that I attended back in the day.

    You would start the course typically a little suspicious, perhaps slightly cynical, and unsure of what to expect. Looking back now I realise that this was because I was occasionally wary of change.

    Then, following a 3-5 day course, my motivation levels would be through the roof. I was going to use what I had learned, and try a number of new techniques to get the best out of my team.

    I even remember frequently writing out a new business plan the evening before my return to work – that’s how motivated I was.

    However, following a few days of being on a high, talk returned to targets, underperforming staff, and following through on previous business plans (these were the messages being fed down to me from up above).

    I’d notice after a week-or-so that things had slowly returned to “normal”. It was almost as though I’d had the life (motivation) sucked out of me.

    It’s taken a few years more experience and time away from a leadership role to realise that I should’ve stuck to my guns, continued trying to improve myself as a leader on a daily basis, and perhaps ignored many of the messages that were being fed down to me.

    Thanks again for a great article

    Partha

    1. Hi Partha,

      Thank you again for another very thorough comment and sharing your thoughts. I’m so pleased that you found the article valuable.

      I agree that when we attend 3-5 day courses, no matter what industry or organisation we work in, it is usually the same story. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences with us and I hope lots of people learn from what you have said. Realising that you should have stuck to your guns or done something different, we have all been there. The amount of times I have reflected and would have done something differently in a certain situation, I have lost count.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  16. Great article man

    I actually never knew that companies did leadership to make their seniors leaders.
    In my previous job they did no training at all but I guess they only did it for the executive members or something.
    But it makes sense to have such for any company as it will help with making the company strong.

    1. Hi Thabo,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m happy that you found the article helpful.

      It’s unusual and wrong in my opinion when companies do not train their people to become leaders, this is the most important training in my opinion.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

  17. I like change. In fact, I get bored with routine. I need change in my life. It is interesting to read this, because I have noticed similar things at the school where I work. We get many trainings, and everyone is always so enthusiastic after each training course, but after a few weeks, or days, most people go back to doing things the way they used to and complain about the same stuff like they always do …
    It had not occurred to me that this could be due to leadership. I always thought that the cause was with the trainees, but your explanation makes so much more sense. I should show my bosses your article, I am sure that they would be interested in reading this 🙂

    1. Hi Christine,

      Thank you for your comment. Glad you found the article valuable.

      It’s great to hear that you like change, lots of people don’t like change. I am one of those people who embraces change too, as long as it is positive change. Thank you for sharing your experiences when going through the changes in your school, hopefully many people will be able to relate to you.

      If you could show your boss my articles, that would be great. I would love to know their opinions.

      Keep returning, keep engaging and keep leading.

      All the best,

      Tom

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