Tuesday, April 17, 2012


A moment of panic. My subconscious erupting into a visceral sense of fear. We’re about to turn into oncoming traffic.

Except I am in Ireland. What’s wrong is right. What’s right is left. I know this consciously, but it doesn’t me from flinching nearly every time the car turns. It just feels wrong.

I blame patterns. The patterns that guide my instinct when I am behind the wheel in Chicago. The patterns that take over, requiring no conscious thought. The patterns in my brain – now as deep as canyons – that have been engrained in me over a lifetime.

This is why change is hard. This is why change can be overwhelming. This is why, even when trying to embrace a new way of doing things, we still make mistakes.

When managing organizational change, we need to remember that it's made up of many, many changes to individuals. And patterns - they can get in the way. Yet, I believe it is essential for us to give patterns the respect they are due. They got us this far. They’ve been helpful in countless scenarios. They’re just not what it needed to move forward without crashing.

What does this require? Communicate a meaningful reason for change, have some respect for how “things have always been done” and, by all means, when people flinch, be patient with them. It’s not them – it’s their patterns.

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