There are few things more challenging to a leader than having to lead your team through a major change. You hear all the usual whining from your team:
- “But we like it the way it is!”
- “It’s too hard! It’s weird and uncomfortable and messy!”
- “We don’t know what it’s going to be like on the other side!”
Honestly, they sometimes sound like babies, don’t they?
Fine then. Let’s talk about babies. Specifically, let’s talk about birth.
[You: “This is getting weird.” Me: “Stop whining and just go with me on this.”]
Do you remember your birthday? And by “birthday,” I mean your actual birth day—the day you were born. You probably don’t, so let me tell you about it. This is a story in three acts:
Act 1: You are warm and content and comfortable. You like it the way it is.
Act 2: Whoa! Something’s happening! You don’t know what it is, but it’s rocking your world in a way that’s hard and weird and uncomfortable and messy!
Act 3: You don’t know what it’s going to be like on the other side.
Sound familiar? It’s the process of birth—and that process is the same whether we’re talking about the birth of a baby, the birth of an idea, or the birth of a new corporate initiative.
Change, like birth (which is, after all, a pretty drastic change), is a 3-part process:
- The part before the change. (Cool.)
- The part during the change. (Not so cool.)
- The part after the change. (Cool.)
When you’re leading your team through change, it’s helpful to remind them of this process. It’s helpful to remind them that that middle part—the weird, uncomfortable, messy part during the change—is a natural part of the process. Is it scary? Yes—because you don’t know what it’s going to be like on the other side.
But, most of the time, when we arrive at the other side and get used to it, we don’t want to go back to the way things were. Kind of like birth, right? I mean, how many of you would trade your life now for the way it was before birth? (Especially when you remember that there is no Wi-Fi in the womb.)
As you lead your own team through change, remember that where you are now—the warm and comfortable status quo—was once the “scary other side.”Today’s status quo was yesterday’s “scary, uncertain future.” #change #LeadingChange Click To Tweet
Yes, the middle part is hard. It’s scary. It’s uncertain.
But it’s also natural and inevitable. It’s part of the process. And there is life on the other side, and, for the most part, it’s pretty darned good.
Kind of like birth.