What’s a sling?

This morning my daughter fell out of bed in her sleep.  She broke her collar bone in the fall.

This early morning chaos reminded me of the power of teaching new concepts as you prepare people for a change.

My six-year-old daughter, when I told her she would likely have to wear a sling on her arm, opened her eyes wide, dropped her mouth wide open and cried, “What’s a sling? Will it hurt? Is it scary?”

From the mouths of babes.

When you are pitching a change to a group of adults they may very well be thinking in their head, “What’s a product line? Will switching to it eliminate my job?  Will it hurt? Is it scary?” but being adults, they are too polite and controlled to ask you those questions.  They’ll just internalize their worry and stall your change.

Some concepts are easier to demonstrate that others. I can show you a picture of a kid in a sling.  A picture of a product line is more difficult to produce.

No matter.  Whenever you are taking someone to a place they’ve never been, the burden is on you, the change agent, to illustrate the new concepts, no matter the difficulty of that task.

Show them how the sling will fit over their shoulder and help them heal.  Talk them through how a product line will bring benefits to their day-to-day work life.

Sometimes change is scary, but mostly because we’re going somewhere we’ve never been and for many, they didn’t choose to go there.

My daughter didn’t choose to fall out of bed, but once she did, she had to complete the journey to recovery.

Most people don’t get the chance to decide if they want to change with the organization, but once the change starts, the journey can be hard and long, or smooth and short, if only the change agent would explain the concepts, and help them see that it shouldn’t hurt much and it doesn’t have to be scary.

Let’s drive some change together.  Why not start now?

What concept will you try to explain better today?

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