CHANGE Management Process – Commit (or You Will be Committed to your Circumstances)

Having seven kids, my wife and I are always looking for ways to engage with them on their level to create shared moments of growth and discussion. One of the unlikely tools we have started to use is Netflix. While this method is probably not taught in any Human Behavior courses or change management process workshops, it seems to work for us. We pick a series and set a time for popcorn and the show (after homework of course). Our youngest kids are now seventeen and we decided to go retro and watch the show Lost which first appeared on TV over 10 years ago.

The premise of the show (well at least the naïve premise) is that 40+ people crash-landed on a deserted island. At first, they stayed on the beach waiting for rescue, but as it became clear that nobody was coming they began to plan to “stay awhile”. These plans included moving off the beach and near a water source. Soon, however, other forces began to negatively affect them. As their situation became more dire, one member of the group decided to build a raft and head out for the shipping lanes to find a rescuer. With little food and fresh water, a small group boarded the raft as the group pushed it out into the surf. There was no turning back. They committed to the concept of rescue or death.

Luckily most of our decisions don’t require option “B” as death; however, we often treat them as if they did. We wallow in our subpar circumstances and accept our poor performance. We too often only pull ourselves out of our stupor when our temporary “comfort” is affected by outside forces (Poor P&L results, loss of clients, etc.).

5 Factors for Your Change Management Process

Very few of us are willing to concede the idea that we even need a raft (change), much less undertake the process of building it (change management process). However, IF we realize that our current circumstances will not change by a passive or external force and IF we have the courage to effect active change then we can expect several outcomes:

The Dissonance of the Comfortable

Once we start to discuss change, there will always be a group of our co-workers who live to protect their comfort and fear anything that threatens that comfort. Even if the change is rational, the research is sound and the process is bulletproof, some in your midst will fight you.

The Support of the Uncomfortable

It always surprises me how many people think alike but sit in silence and accept their circumstances. Once the building of the raft is announced, supporters will almost always come out of the woodwork to learn more about the plan and provide support.

The Criticism of Everyone

This is your vision, even those who support you will have different ideas about how to achieve the results. Listen to them, revel in their support and embrace their individual input and experience but it will most likely be up to you to drive the change forward.

The Certainty of Uncertainty

No matter how much we plan, prepare, test and engage, you will always have uncertainty as your partner in this process. By proper preparation and planning, you can mitigate the more dire outliers as potential outcomes, but you can never guarantee the end result. While this is a part of the process, it should not be the catalyst to quit building the raft.

The Necessity to Commit

None of the above matters if we don’t launch the raft into the surf and trust our planning and our abilities. While lessons can be learned in the process, big positive change does not usually happen without that moment of commitment.

Who knew that 10 year old TV series could teach us lessons to apply to our business’ change management process. Actually that particular show has a running comparison of at least two different management styles among the leaders of those lost on the island, but that is a conversation for another time. I encourage you to inspect your circumstance honestly and see if it’s time to launch a raft.