How does change happen, who wants change, who doesn’t want change, these plus other questions need to be asked before change can start,
One of the major barriers to change is often seen as apathy but can fact be fear “its always been done that way” or quoting Talking Heads “same as it ever was” .
As an example, put five monkeys in a cage, inside the cage hang a banana on a string and place a set of stairs under it. Linked to the stairs is a pressure switch which on being activated will spray the whole cage with water.
Before long, a monkey will go to the stairs climbing towards the banana. As soon as he touches the stairs, cold water is sprayed into the cage. All monkeys get wet but the water stops when the “offender” gets off the stairs.
As there is no trend or suspicion of cause, another monkey will soon make an attempt with the same result. Pretty soon the monkeys will get sick of getting wet, and will stop others from attempting to climb the stairs. Keeping this process in place for several days to “ingrain” the process.
Now turn off the water, remove a monkey and replace it with a fresh one.
The new monkey will see the banana and attempt to climb the stairs. To his surprise, all the other monkeys attack him. Every time he tries he is attacked, so very quickly learns to not even try.
Now, remove another of the original five monkeys, replacing with a new one. The newcomer goes to the stairs and is attacked. Even the previous newcomer takes part in the punishment with enthusiasm. Likewise, replace a third original monkey with a new one, then a fourth, then the fifth.
Every time the newest monkey takes to the stairs, he is attacked.
Eventually every monkey will have been changed, there is now no knowledge of why newcomers are attacked when approaching the stairs as none of these monkeys have ever been sprayed, but it continues and sometimes with more vehemence than the originals!.
Why is this?
Because as far as they know that’s the way it’s always been done around here…
This is a survival instinct, people are the same. It is a learned habit and as such needs to be unlearned, it cannot just be turned off (or explained away).
Before beginning down the path to change… review your paradigms with all your stake-holders, as laid out in a workshop by Dr Nuri Robins :
1- What paradigms do you want to protect?
2- What paradigms do you want to reject?
3- What paradigms have been challenged, unsuccessfully?
4- What old paradigms get in the way of seeing the new ones?
5- What paradigms are shifting or expanding at your company?
6- What do you predict will become paradigms in the next three years?
7- What is impossible to do now, but would radically change the way you do business if it were possible?
8- What beliefs do you share with others in your small group about working at your company?
9- What beliefs do you share with others in your small group about being a member of your industry?
10- What beliefs do you share with others in your small group about customer service in your industry?
This gives you a “lay of the land” allowing a meaningful plan of approach to be formulated .
Phase one down, now on to phase two (maybe the stairs are OK, or find another way).
Cheers and all the best for your change.