MVP: Sometimes, going back or pressing forward with a change don’t work.
If you’ve been reading this week’s emails, you are aware that Pam and I had several chances to abandon our “short cut” back to the trail when that shortcut didn’t work out.
Similarly, when your plans don’t go as planned, you can choose to go back to the beginning or press on to the end.
But what if the end becomes impossible to reach? Then what?
On our adventure, Pam and I had gained the attention of two horses, whose motivations were unclear to us but who were in our personal space. The horses had also gotten between she and I.
We slowly worked our way towards an opening in the yard, Pam moving more calmly than I.
We got to the opening and found ourselves staring into a field of stinging nettles, with buildings on either side of us and two frisky horses behind us.
Today’s intention: Have you ever been in a situation where there appeared to be no good alternatives? Are you in one now?
MVP: When change isn’t going well, we can work to overcome barriers and complete the project.
When Pam and I began our shortcut to get back to the Pennine Way, the path began well but quickly became overgrown. Ten minutes in, we were already experiencing difficulties. We could have turned back but didn’t want to “waste” the time we had already invested so we chose to press on.
The second choice we can make with a problematic change initiative is to press on to the end. Sometimes this strategy works, but it did not in our case.
After 30 minutes of wading through thick brush and mud (wearing our full backpacks) we found ourselves in a deserted farmyard with a burned-out camper van. Sketchy!
Pam and I spit up to scout around and at that point, two bedraggled horses came out from behind a building and got between the two of us. One of them took a fancy to Pam and began snuggling up to her.
We could have turned back before, but now it was too late as we had decided to press on.
So, what next?
Today’s intention: Take inventory of your organization. Is there anything you are doing that has lost its usefulness and which can be abandoned?
MVP: When change isn’t going well, we can go back to where we started.
Yesterday I shared that when a change effort hits road bumps, we have three options, the first of which is to go back to the beginning.
This is a difficult mental and emotional step for some of us as it feels like admitting defeat. We also have to face the wasted resources (money, time, and attention) devoted to the effort.
On the other hand, when we go back to where we began, we cut our losses – no more bleeding – and clear the way to do something else, hopefully something more effective.
When Pam and I took our short cut to get back to the Pennine Way trail, we quickly ran into some challenges as the path we using became overgrown and muddy. If we had turned back right away, we would have lost about 10 minutes of time.
However, we could not bear the thought of “wasting” 10 minutes when we were already behind schedule, so we pressed on.
Today’s intention: Discuss with someone a current project that is bogging down or encountering road bumps. Think about what it would look like if you gave up and went back to the beginning.
MVP: When we hit complications in a change process, we have three options.
This week’s emails are inspired by a situation which occurred around day 5 of Pam (my wife) and I’s Grand Adventure on the Pennine Way this summer.
Having gotten behind schedule socializing at a lunchtime pub stop, we decided to take a “short cut” back to the trail and wound up being accosted by two frisky horses.
There were multiple points at which the whole shortcut thing became problematic but each step (literally) of the way, we always had the same three options:
As we reflected on the event, we realized that these same three options hold true for many endeavours, especially change initiatives.
Today’s intention: Think about the various initiatives happening in your organization. What happens when thing don’t go as planned? As you go through the day, be aware of remnants of old changes and road bumps for new ones.
Bonus points if you caught my fancy British English spelling of “endeavor”!
MVP: Our relationships influence how we engage at work.
I’ve been using the terms “personal” and “professional” to denote two elements of relationship. I love matrices, so here is one to capture the type of relationship we have based on which of the two elements are in place:
Today’s intention: Apply the matrix to people you work with. Is it accurate? What do you learn?