Ramadan 18: From the Bottom Up

Verily, We will not change the destiny of a people until they begin to change themselves. – Surah Al-Ra’ad

Does change come from the top down or from the bottom up?

Today’s thought starts from a simple statement from the blessed quran that makes things VERY clear … to change the state of being as a society is an individual process before society, i.e. the bottom up. Actually, this can be applied to any group / individual setting: company / employee, family / relative, team / member, etc…

Don’t get us wrong, we do not advocate that one ignore the external environment. In fact, we believe that one should always look and study the external environment and identify ways to improve it while in parallel, looking within ourselves for improvement for two reasons, A) be the improvement we want to see collectively in our environments, and, B) prepare ourselves for when change in the external environment does take place.

A sidenote however is that this does not only apply in the positive sense, it applies in the negative sense as well. We have heard of organisations once considered ‘happy and effective’ turn a year or two down the road into ‘damaging and beaurucratic’ organisations primarily driven by employees; their attitudes, their values, their ethics and capabilities.

Think about your experiences at the different group / individual levels, have you seen external improvement without individual improvement?