Thursday, October 26, 2017

Safe Spaces

The second most important thing you can do as a leader is to provide safe spaces for change.

(The first most important thing you can do is model the change yourself).

Find a way to create a safe space – no matter how “high stakes”.

This is where “pilots” come in.

Tiny, quick projects to test the idea.

Pilots perform multiple, essential functions:

  1. A pilot allows you to see whether the change will work.
  2. A pilot lets you see where the sticking points will be around within the change
  3. A pilot creates people who model the behavior and can then spread that behavior among their colleagues.
  4. A pilot helps you confirm your behavioral reinforcement strategies

Ideally, these pilots are low-stakes.

Don’t let an argumentative, impatient, high-stakes team bulldoze you into making them be your “pilot.”

These teams tend to

  • Do things that are central to the operations of the organization
  • Have no patience
  • Squawk as soon as things “go wrong”
  • Spread that discomfort to the rest of the organization
  • Derail any future efforts

You will know who these teams are pretty quickly.

Fundamentally, you want your pilot to be a team that is impacted by the change, but any problems that appear do not paralyze the organization.

My best tactic is to explain to the impatient, high-stakes team that we want to do a small pilot so that we minimally impact their critical work.  We want to get the majority of the kinks out first.  By waiting a short period of time, we save them significant time and energy.

The argument doesn’t always work at first. Find an example from the organization’s history where their impatience made a change more difficult than necessary.  Document and share with your project champion and your team.

Find an example from the organization’s history where their impatience made a change more difficult than necessary.  Document and share with your project champion and your team.  Do your best to cool the high-stakes team’s jets.

Don’t know what law this is, but I found the following to be true:

“The higher the stakes, the more likely things are going to go wrong.”

Your attempts to create a pilot (a safe zone for the change) with a lower stakes team may not work, but at least you have the documentation if things go off the rails.


Resources – Amazon Affiliate Links

Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration

 

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