Thursday, June 16, 2011

Change Artist Challenge #1

In an earlier post, I said that in order to be more effective introducing new techniques and technology, we needed to become practitioners of the art of change, as described in the seventh volume of my Quality Software ebooks: Becoming a Change Artist. In that book, I present a series of challenges taken from our change artistry workshops. In this and subsequent posts, I plan to present each of these challenges, roughly one every week. If you take each challenge, I guarantee you will substantially increase your change artistry.

Your first challenge will be to undertake a change project of your own, of a very specific nature. The purpose is to have you experience the Satir Change Model and some of its emotional consequences.

Challenge #1
Your challenge is to go to work tomorrow in a different way.

The first experience of this assignment is what goes on in your head and heart when you first read it. Here are a few typical examples:

1. I immediately experienced panic (Chaos). What if I was late to work? I've already found the optimal way to work, because I've been driving it for four years. Suddenly, I understood exactly how it felt being in the Late Status Quo, and I knew that I would have more consideration for the people whose work I was trying to change.

2. My first thought was "impossible!" I simply could not think of a single alternative to the well-developed route I took to work. After all, there was only one bridge across the river. What was I supposed to do, swim? I decided I simply wasn't going to do it, which allowed me to relax. Then I realized that the assignment said 'in a different way,' not 'by a different route.' I hadn't even understood the foreign element, and I had rejected it.

Now consider some of the comments after doing the assignment:

3. I decided to go to work wearing a tie, which I've never done before. The reaction of other people was totally unexpected, both the number of people and their intensity. I learned how easy it is to be a foreign element, and that you can't change just one thing.

4. I went to work with a different attitude—more positive. The whole day was entirely different. It's a much better place to work than it was last week.

5. In driving by a different route, I got lost and discovered a part of the city I'd never seen before. I was late to work, but it was fun. I decided to go a different way each day, and I've been doing it now for six months. I like it.

6. I always go to work in a different way every day, so I wasn't going to do the assignment. Then I realized that a different way for me would be to go the same way. So I drove the same way every day for a week and learned a couple of things. First of all, the same way isn't the same way, if I pay attention. Second, I'm not the same every day. Some days I can't tolerate waiting for the light at 35th Street, but other days I welcome the time to reflect about things. I used this learning to reintroduce a proposal that had been rejected last month. This time they loved it.


Your next opportunity to participate in some change artist training is our Problem Solving Leadership Workshop (PSL). It takes place in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA
August 28-September 2, 2011

After that, your next opportunity will be the 11th Annual Amplifying Your Effectiveness Conference (AYE) in Cary, North Carolina, USA
Sunday, October 30 – Thursday November 3, 2011


Anonymous said...

Hi Gerald,
came across your blogpost because of Twitter.
Nice story, food for thought. keep them coming!
fred steenbergen

Issi Hazan said...

I saw the post yesterday evening and decide to go for it.
My 1st thoughts when I saw the challenge were: He didn't meant to give this exercise to busy people like me which have only 1 family car. The 2nd thought was: Since this is a weekly challenge, could I postpone the change to other day on the week. The 3rd was: Could I change just my "mental way I go to work" and not the real way. At the end, after cheating and reading the other experience reports in the post, I decide to do that on the next morning. I did only a small change: take the second entrance to the industrial area instead the 1st. luckily my wife (was the drivertoday ) is supportive and flexible to cooperate with my requests.

Ellis Vidler said...

Sounds like an interesting exercise, and goodness knows I need a fresh outlook. I'll try it. A different route to work. Thanks, Jerry.

Gerald M. Weinberg said...

Issi, great report. Now you understand more about how people react to the simplest change:
1. He doesn't mean me.
2. He doesn't mean now.
3. Maybe I can just think about it.

and, it doesn't require something big to have the experience.

Gerald M. Weinberg said...

Ellis, I'm looking forward to your report.

Wade Wachs said...

My first thought when I saw the words 'Your challenge is to go to work tomorrow in a different way' I thought the following text was going to be explanatory. I had questions like:

Different in what way?
How loarge does the change need to be?
Can I get other people to go through this excersize with me?
Will this be a long lasting change, or merely one day?

As I read on, I was a bit let down that my questions weren't answered directly in the text. The route I drive to work was the farthest thing from my mind as I started reading the experiences. I then saw that was how other people had interpreted and fulfilled the request, so I kinda went along with that, even thoguh that wasn't how I interpreted the request.

Then I saw the experience about the guy wearing a tie, and I related more to that than changing the route of my commute.

On the way home I tried the different route thing. That was nice, but I just moved to the town a few months ago for my job, so I have been taking different routes all of the place trying to figure out where things are. No real change there.

So this morning, I decided to come into work 5 minutes early. Today was a bit odd because half the staff was about an hour late, so it was interesting seeing the parking lot with only 4 cars in it.

I like change though, so we'll see how challenge #2 goes.

James Jahraus said...

Hi Jerry,

This Challenge was really fun. I really like how you craft work for others, because of the multidimensional learning that can take place. Much appreciated!