Today is Juneteenth, a holiday that commemorates the freeing of the last enslaved people in the United States on June 19, 1885 in Galveston, Texas. If you’re an astute student of history you will note that this is two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation that, in theory, gave slaves their freedom.

Juneteenth is a perfect illustration that just because a leader says there is to be a change does not mean that those who are to enact it actually do so. Proclaiming a change and implementing it are two very different things, carried out by two distinct functions within an organization.

In this case, the Texans were not about to relinquish their “property” until they were forced to do so. It took two years for Major General Granger to provide the might necessary to mandate that change occur, needing to wait until the war concluded and enough Union troops became available to make their way to southern Texas for law enforcement instead of civil war combat.

In addition to spending time developing bold proclamations about the change you want to occur, dedicate resources toward creating an implementation plan to ensure that things actually change. Leaders – and all political candidates – would be wise to take lessons from Juneteenth. Good intentions – and even good laws – don’t become a reality overnight.

 

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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