What Toddlers Could Teach Us About Change Management
I had an epiphany on a call the other day.
With our ever-increasing distributed workforces, at times there are “interruptions” on conference calls. Dogs barking, Alarms sounding, Coffee House Chatter, Children in the background. As a very open-minded supporter of getting the work done regardless of the time or place, I am very understanding about these types of challenges. I even enjoy the sometimes-colorful explanations of what is going on. We all need a little reality in life, right?
So today I was on a call…and we got the explanation that there was drama around the Training of the Potty. Now…to be fully transparent, I am not a parent, but my mom LOVES sharing the embarrassing stories of my initial resistance to the Potty. I am an Aunt to two crazy nephews, both well beyond this stage, but as my sister explained, “the struggle is real y’all. As the leader of our Women’s Networking group and mentor to working mommies I hear it all. Maybe to get my overly logical perspective on a VERY emotional time for parents, or maybe just to vent to someone that would have ZERO advice on the subject. So today….as I was thinking about all the stories, I reflected…WHY so much DRAMA over something that is eventually going to make your life so much more productive, comfortable, cleaner and allow you to cross over to the “Big Kid’s Class.”
Then it hit me. Potty Training is an excellent allegory to what we love to hate in “the Big Kids Class” called Change. I am a change agent. Always have been (yep AFTER the Potty Training was over). I see opportunities for improvement from a ton of angles. I am not a fan of change because I want to put my personal stamp on anything, or change for change’s sake, but when there is a potential to improve or try something new, why not??? I subscribe to a simple philosophy that there is no real failure if you learned as part of the process. So WHY is there SO MUCH RESISTANCE TO CHANGE? I am not a change or organizational theory expert, but I have been the target of so much resistance when all I was trying to accomplish was a better way, a more profitable outcome, or just a new way to think about something. It is Potty Training. The Toddler says look I have a diaper. It works. No skin off my nose, I just do my thing, you take care of the outcome and we all go about our business. Easy Peasy! Then the parent must go and STRONGLY SUGGEST that I expose my very personal regions on a GIANT HOLE and change the way I have been doing this ALL MY LIFE? Are you kidding me? Ah Ha! Makes perfect sense now doesn’t it?
Look most of us don’t remember the struggle we went through to cross-over the potty threshold ourselves, but you have heard the stories, and something about Chocolate Coated Peanut Candies. I am not sure how we solve the fear of or the resistance to change. I know I will keep doing what I do using data to support the need for and the measurement of the outcomes related to change. When I am confronted with change resistance, maybe I can think back to that giant hole and recall I probably looked up at my mom and
thought you want me to do what, now? The struggle is real y’all!