I was recently visiting a popular tourist destination in my city as my son and I were being tourists in our own town. It was a very hot day and everyone had the same idea about how they would spend it. I guarantee you that attendance records must have been set. Knowing it would be busy, I prepared my son for the inevitable waits that would present themselves with the adage “today is about enjoying our time together, not about how many things we get to do”. And we did enjoy ourselves.
Later on in the afternoon, we decided to brave a line to enjoy one of the biggest attractions. You could see the young staff at the park were doing everything they could to appease the somewhat entitled customers who were there. The staff were smiling, offering any assistance they could and assuring people that the crowds would eventually thin out. It was during this wait that a loud, booming voice said “Man, give me a week and I would fix everything that is wrong with this place.” His arrogance almost stopped me dead in my tracks. You could see any satisfaction the staff had from helping previous customers completely disappear with that one proclamation. Before I said anything that might have caused an altercation, I stopped and actually thought about what he said. Could he really make lasting changes in only a week that would improve the experience? Can anyone really accomplish a goal like this?
This whole scenario got me thinking. I know people like this who feel the “shock and awe” approach of change management is the only way to get things done. If I’m being completely honest, I’ve approached situations like this and made light of the concerns that were brought forward saying things like “I understand what you’re saying but we are all in this thing together and we can get this done!” Yeah, we didn’t get it done and the change that needed to happen did not stick. When change does need to happen, we need to pause, take stock of who will be impacted, understand that change takes time and set small achievable goals with the people that will be impacted the most. And we need to listen – a lot. When people feel like they have genuinely been heard and understood, they will usually do everything they can to help move the change forward.
As for the gentleman in the park, I would bet that he hasn’t had great success in making long lasting changes.
(This post has been authored by guest blogger, Randi Hayes)
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