The majority of my career has been spent in change management.
The front lines. I’m the one who gets the brunt of people’s fear about the change.
The anger. The frustration. The sadness. The discomfort.
We spend so much time talking about how “great” the change is going to be.
Selling the change.
Marketing the change.
Often, with little acknowledgement or accommodation for the natural dip in productivity the change requires to stick.
We get so focused on the “event” of change that we forget the day-to-day reinforcement that change requires to stick.
And because training is often “the event” – any negatives around the change (like features that don’t work or the change not being nearly as “positive” as the higher ups anticipate) are expected to be fixed by training.
We know how well that works.
I’ve been reflecting on my career to date.
I’m thinking I could do a much better job of walking people through the “getting your ass kicked” part of the program.
I could do a much better job of acknowledging – to the end users AND to management – that a productivity dip exists. And it is OK. And, for the change to stick, needs to be accommodated for a period of time.
I could do a better job of helping to shape the support environment around the change.
I could do a better job of helping people feel safe.
I often forget that my practice of regularly making myself uncomfortable so I can learn something new is not the way the vast majority of humanity works.
Comfortable is good.
Feelings of mastery are good, and my audience has worked damned hard to achieve that mastery.
I’m asking them to feel stupid for awhile.
And most people, rightly, resist.
I could do a better job of helping people get comfortable with the “stupid” feeling.
That might be the most powerful thing I could do.