Be the Change You Want to See

Kelli Steckbauer | April 26, 2016

Many years ago, a mother asked Mahatma Ghandi to help her convince her son not to eat sugar. Ghandi told her he could not do so at that time and to come back in two weeks. The mother was confused but agreed to follow the wise man’s request.

When they returned, the mother asked why he couldn’t speak to her son earlier. Gandhi replied that at the time she first asked, he too was eating sugar. How could he advise her son if he had not taken that journey himself?

That is the story behind one my favorite quotes, ten profound words that continue to inspire me to this day: Be the change you want to see in the world.

I’ve prominently placed those words on my office wall where I must directly face them every day. It challenges me to do better, to break out of complacency and to be an agent of change. After all, how can I motivate my team to break through barriers unless I am an active part of the change that is needed?

On a trade show level, how many fantastic innovations have taken place because someone decided to be that agent of change? Many people over the years have expressed concern about the cost of drayage or the ability to create larger format graphics without seams, but someone took an active role and came up with an innovative solution that combined aluminum extrusion with fabric to create an environment that not only looks great, but saves a great deal of money for the exhibitor. Others might have expressed concern that their booth performance didn’t measure up to expectations until some brave and brilliant individuals realized that integrated marketing campaigns could help drive the right attendance and thereby increase ROI. These are people who challenged themselves to come up with a better way to do things. Our entire industry is better off because they chose to be agents of change.

Since our inception, MG has lived by the principle that something special is always possible. It’s an important part of our culture that has endured for 57 years and counting. From the top down, we encourage and inspire our people to be agents of change for our company, our clients, our industry and our world. Real innovation never happens in a vacuum. Are you ready to follow the lead of Mahatma Ghandi and become the change you want to see for your business? It’s never too late to break barriers and help set new standards for your industry. Be that change. You’ll be glad you did.

Kelli Steckbauer demonstrates her passion for experiential marketing as Vice President of Operations for MG. In addition to maintaining the highest service and satisfaction standards for employees and clients alike as part of MG’s leadership team, Kelli plays an active role in advancing the industry through speaking engagements and is a regular contributor to several publications.