I recently went to the cinema to watch recent Danish film The Hunt, twenty minutes into the film the “projector” went awry. A person twice came into the rear of the auditorium to inform us it would be fixed, before finally a manager informed us the “server was down” and we could get a refund at the front desk.
Couple of things I found remarkable about this experience;
Firstly, when you have a single minded purpose i.e. watching a film, and the parameters change you feel pretty useless. I sat in the theatre with my popcorn staring at a blank screen in the dark. I kept eating my popcorn as I didn't know what else to do – when the lights came on it was worse as now it was plain to see how fundamentally useless we all were.
Is there a learning point here? well maybe. Change is seen as necessary especially in the current climate but there are things we need to be aware of when integrating change, Matthew E May recently wrote “when you change your mind, you change your brain”. So keeping this in mind consider;
- Are your people aware of the change, what’s involved and its necessity?
- Do they know when and how it will occur?
- Are they equipped to adapt to this change so they can continue performing?
Tony Schwartz reminded us that "fully 95 percent of our behaviors are habitual, or occur in response to a strong external stimulus". Anytime you change the environment, parameters or expectancy of people and their work you’re in danger of leaving them in the dark with a useless box of popcorn – worse still you may turn the lights on and expose them.
Oh and the second thing? Well the refund came in the form of a pre-printed ticket which read “We’re sorry – Admit one”, talk about preparing to fail!