When 25-year-old Siyyid ‘Alí-Muhammad, a Persian merchant, declared his mission as The Báb (a title which means the Gate in Arabic) at two hours and eleven minutes past sunset on the evening of May 22, 1844 in Shiraz, Iran, He precipitated a new, independent, world religion. Furthermore, under the title of the Primal Point 1 His actions marked the start of an epic cycle and new era 2 for humanity and “prepare[d] the way for the coming of a Manifestation of God Who would usher in the age of peace and justice promised in all the world’s religions: Bahá’u’lláh.” 3
In terms of change management, The Báb epitomizes change agentry. From His position of supreme spiritual authority, He set in motion processes for change that would adapt to the needs of subsequent generations so that each, in turn, could contribute to making the vision of global peace and justice a reality. These processes include the succession of divine authority to assure an unbroken flow of guidance to humanity; the call for every individual to conduct their own independent investigations of truth and make decisions based on the outcomes; and the expectation that each commit their time to fully participate within society’s institutions and structures in accordance with spiritual principles and guidelines such that civilization continues to advance and, ultimately, fulfill its destiny.
The publications of writings in various forms authored by successive divine authorities—The Báb, Bahá’u’lláh, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Shoghi Effendi and now the Universal House of Justice—provide a steady stream of guidance in the form of rules, roles, and plans that if integrated into our thoughts, words, and deeds give us the wherewithal to better ourselves as individuals and work within our communities and institutions to align our efforts and energies on a common course to bring about social transformation.
In order to help us better understand and act upon this guidance, there is often a deliberate and consistent use of key words and catch phrases, regardless of the author, that focuses attention on main points in the change processes at play. I have applied many of those points and the wording that clarifies them to change management strategies within client social systems throughout my career.
In the spirit of openness, transparency and sharing so that others might benefit, I have started annotating a selection of publications available on Bahá’í Reference Library to illustrate the change management techniques that are integral to them. The first is the One Year Plan for 2021-2022 4 which consists of the Day of the Covenant Message—2020 and the Riḍván Message—2021 addressed to the Bahá’ís of the World by the Universal House of Justice. In my annotations, I have highlighted the use of particular words and phrases in multiple documents in order to emphasize their importance and significance in terms of change strategies that extend across several Plans.
If you prefer, click here to download the annotated One Year Plan for 2021-2022 as an interactive PDF file.
In upcoming revisions and additions to posts and pages I will expand the glossary of terms and phrases and make direct associations between my client work and change management approaches nested within Bahá’í publications.
“I am the Primal Point from which have been generated all created things. I am the Countenance of God Whose splendor can never be obscured, the Light of God Whose radiance can never fade.”
The Báb. Selections from the Writings of the Báb. Bahá’í Reference Library, https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/the-bab/selections-writings-bab/2#274093441. Accessed 23 May 2021.[return]
- Bolhuis, Arjen. “Chart of the Eras and Epochs of Bahá’í History.” Bahá’í Library Online, 2000, https://bahai-library.com/bolhuis_chart_eras_epochs. [return]
- “The Báb – Herald of the Bahá’í Faith.” The Bahá’í Faith, Bahá’í World Centre, www.bahai.org/the-bab/. Accessed 23 May 2021. [return]
- Universal House of Justice. “The One Year Plan 2021-2022: Messages of the Universal House of Justice.” Palabra Publications, April 2021, 27. [return]