by Michael Holland     

Historically analyzing transformational change allows us to see the moments in time when leaders have articulated profoundly simple visions, and the resulting behavioral change that occurred over time within an organization or group after the proclamation.  JFK’s “landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to earth” speech is one example.  Paul O’Neil’s opening vision statement as he took over Alcoa (“I intend to make Alcoa the safest company in America.  I intend to go for zero injuries”) is another.  The resulting tectonic shifts in long-term behavior and success were profound, though difficult to see day-to-day during the transformations.

This week we have witnessed such a profound, vision-shifting proclamation.  With just a few authentic words and slight yet discerning shifts in traditional behavior, the newly elected Pope Francis spoke volumes to the worldwide organization of 412,000 priests and 1.2 billion followers he now leads.  He conveyed the shift in approach he expects, showed his priorities, and spoke clearly to the essence of the purpose he foresees.

Many books and articles have been written about servant leadership.  Pope Francis is a living example of a servant leader leading a serving organization.  And his authentic leadership is revealed in the alignment of what he thinks, what he says, and what he does.

Coaching Thoughts – For You and Your Peers

  • How will you stand up today as an authentic leader?
  • What do you think about the term “servant leadership”? Is that something that only works in a serving organization? Or could you apply it to you position in your organization as well?