Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Go Fish: The Challenge of Change

cc Flickr photo by azjd14

During a recent summer trip to my childhood home in central Kansas, we took my daughter, and her cousins, fishing at a family friend's farm pond.  Using hot dogs as bait, the kids reeled in large catfish, one after the other (see the video here), about as fast as my brother and I could bait their hooks.  At the end of the trip (and one package of hot dogs), my daughter declared her love of fishing -- proclaiming herself an expert.  I tried to explain that it wasn't always like that, recalling countless hours of frustration when the fish weren't biting, but she wasn't having it.

Sometimes we (and when I see "we" I am certainly including myself) approach change, and improvement, in organizations with expectations similar to my daughter's attitude toward fishing.  Hopeful that it will be smooth, happen quickly, and perhaps unaware of the required time, energy, and resources necessary to be successful.  Significant change requires significant investments.

Successfully navigating the change process has many parallels to REAL fishing:    

  • Know what you are doing - it never hurts to know a thing, or two, about what you want to change, or improve.  Be willing to learn.
  • Patience - most organizational change requires effective planning/preparation, time, and concerted effort.  It doesn't happen over night.  
  • Failure - in many cases, new ideas don't go right the first (or second, or third...) time.  Take it in stride.
  • Persistence - successful change efforts require participants to be willing to continue to try something different until they find something that works.  Keep casting.
  • Accept small victories - not every success is a game changer.  Celebrate incremental progress in route to more significant gains.  
Regardless of my daughters feelings, fishing isn't always as easy as it appears.  Neither is change.

To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.  ~ Winston Churchill  

No comments:

Post a Comment