Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Dealing with Unforseen Variables

Of course, as with any change management project, unforseen variables occur at the most fragile part of the change. How these variables are dealt with - by both the change manager (me) and those inflicted (Spike and Chainsaw) - determines the long-term success of the change.

Soon after I posted last night, the boyfriend calls to inform me that we have to take Kaia in for the weekend. Turns out a beloved family cousin died and the family is going to the funeral in Florida.

Kaia is the boyfriend's dog. She was a faithful companion to him throughout college and into his adult years. Since he moved back to DC, Kaia has lived with the boyfriend's sister since she has a more flexible schedule and more room to roam.

The apartment is familiar to Kaia. She visits regularly when the sister is out of town. This time, something is amiss. Where is her favorite chair? (In the dumpster - the stuffing left little orange puffballs all over the carpet). And where are the cats that she's smelling......

I locked the cats in the bedroom to see how Kaia would react to the new smells. She smelled around, but didn't bark and didn't try to break down the door to get to the cats. Once she was satisfied that what she smelled was accurate, she went back to her 2nd favorite spot underneath the coffee table.

I let the cats out of the bedroom. Spike and Chainsaw had decided that Chainsaw, being the bigger kitty, should go first. Spike following close behind. No hissing. No running. No ruffled fur. Just curiosity and a healthy distance.

Satisfied that what he saw was accurate - and not feeling particularly brave - Spike slowly walks back to the bedroom and safety.

Chainsaw, in the meantime, decides that obtaining his favorite spot on the couch is more important than possible harm and cautiously makes his way past Kaia. He eventually makes himself comfortable on my lap - Kaia watching the entire time.

So Kaia, Spike, and Chainsaw have quickly reached a comfortable equilibrium. With little drama - as I speak - Spike is lying on my arm and "helping" me draft this post. Chainsaw is lying in another hiding spot watching me and Kaia (gotta make sure she doesn't do anything sudden). Kaia is lying in her favorite spot watching Chainsaw watching her.

The next 24 hours or so will be key, but I sense this change management project is going much smoother than anticipated.

1 comment:

Karyn Romeis said...

What a lovely name! I don't know how you pronounce it, but in Zulu and Xhosa the word for home his khaya (pronounced to rhyme with the way the English pronouce shyer or buyer), so I opted for that...

Isn't it amazing how we can draw so many analogies about our professions from watching our animals interact?