I’m guilty: I buy expensive toys for my children, only to see them sit in corners collecting dust. Each time I walk by I hear the echoes, “But Dad! I need! I need!” As the Holidays creep closer, I vow not to succumb to such pressures. (Only to recall that I’ve made such promises before.)Something happened on the way to the Holidays this year. Our girls love soccer. Often you can hear the ball kicked against a wall in the garage – followed by pleas from parents, “Kick that ball somewhere else!”
Walking by the wall one day it struck me: Use the wall. What would happen if we let them use the wall – and made it more fun to do so? What would happen if we painted a goal, added targets worth points, and outlined a goalie?
I grabbed a can of paint, hollered at the girls, who, upon discovering what the vision was, squealed with delight as they helped transform the wall. As soon as the paint dried, the balls were flying; it’s now so popular that they play well into the dark.
The paint cost me less than $5.
And I wonder: Can we as leaders do a better job leading change? What is it our employees are trying to tell us – that perhaps we are attempting to stop, and could instead accelerate? Consider the possibility that change doesn’t need to be expensive – that instead of launching costly initiatives we can instead honor the conditions that accelerate change, so that change happens naturally and in more cost-effective ways.
Today, before you launch that costly initiative, ask, “What are they really trying to tell us?”