I worked on-site with a client team this week that desperately needs change, but is walking through molasses to get there. Like the image above, change requires the birth of an idea, gears to put it into action, and a clear target to hit.
Sounds so simple, doesn’t it? But as we’ve said before, simple isn’t easy to do. I was reminded by this group in particular about how we cling to the past, and have this habit of harkening back to “better days”. It’s so ironic isn’t it? The only reason to change is to make things better, but the discipline it takes and the anxiety we produce about it puts us in slow motion.
Hmmm. What to do about this? There is clearly no silver bullet, for if there were, it would have received a Nobel Peace Prize by now. What we do know though, is that finding support, surrounding ourselves with other people who need to go through this too, makes a big difference.
It’s why, when I work with a business group going through change, I always do it in a way that puts them and their conversations at the center. Sometimes in these situations people need to vent or let out their anger. Despite this, it never fails that there is at least a 51% trend toward what my clients this week love to call ELMO (enough, let’s move on!). It seems no matter how much we drag our feet, when we put a whole team of brains together, we get it faster and harder that it’s important to move NOW.
We muck around in the past, figure out what’s really affecting us in the present, and then through a process of finding common ground, pick a place to start that we all agree on, to build a better future. The process is called Future Search (see info about our work at http://futuresearch.net).
I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to talk this through TOGETHER, and figure out what we want to do TOGETHER. What I know or you know, or have an opinion about, is just our own (often whiny) perspective. But something magical happens to that opinion when it is expressed openly in a team, and we then work it together to an agreed upon start.
Now there’s some energy about doing something about the mess we are in. And sometimes the starting place isn’t what we pictured as a manager, but it doesn’t matter. Start where the energy is, and it’s more likely that more change will come, and faster.
It’s not so hard to change when everyone decides to get down on the floor and clean up the molasses around their feet, since the guy and gal next them is doing it too. And amazing, when we all do a little, the path is suddenly much clearer to move ahead. There’s really something to that old saying, “Many hands make the work light.”