Tip #54 - The Human Ingredient in Change
Picture this: There are 30 people in the room. Leaders have put aside 90 minutes to engage in a conversation about working together more effectively, post business transformation. The focus is on getting things done in collaboration with:
And, people are already busy, busy, busy; we mustn’t waist their time! So let’s pile on as much information as possible in those 90 minutes, have a 40 slide PowerPoint at the ready, and change speakers every 15 minutes. Let’s also hope there are no questions to slow things down.
- Other members of the team
- A second team
- The larger organization
So, the attendee’s role is to: A) ingest all this wonderful data, and B) start making the relevant changes happen when he or she leaves the meeting room. Yes. Right away. Yet, the data is often dense and unfamiliar at best. And even if it’s digested, what do you do with it? Information overload, and change overload. That’s what I call a managerial Double Whammy.
Sound familiar? Let’s continue.
On the other hand, organizers think people get bored if they take time to explain. They’re also afraid that their audience will start complaining if given the opportunity to talk. They unfortunately, assume that attendees can figure out how these new rules and roles apply to them, without support. And finally, they believe their work is done when the information has been downloaded. Sigh of relief!
Of course this scenario, although repeated many times over, is wrong on all counts. It seems self-evident to say, but I’ll say it anyway: Change can only happen through people, and people need to connect with the new information, and with each other, to make sense of their new reality.
By flipping the script to facilitate reflection, storytelling, sharing of real life experiences, and visualizations, we engage our imagination and emotions, try the change on for size, and pave the way forward.
Dear Leader, the next time you’re asked to organize a 90 minute information marathon, please focus on the human ingredient first. Bring in 30 people for 90 minutes of:
What you will experience are curiosity and exploration instead of disbelief and opposition. You will notice how the session becomes less about the leaders and more about the followers. You will see confusion give way to clarity, and you will start to effect real change, in real time.
- Dialoguing and story sharing with real voices,
- Encouraging questions and exploration, starting in smaller groups where there is safety,
- Alternating between these intimate exchanges and a connection with the larger group to normalize the experience for all,
- Looking for solutions only once people feel they have been heard.