Musings on designing experiences & (re)engineering complexity

Mar 2018

The Transition of Change

Caught in that time period right between the cold of winter that remains on your memory until the rest of the year, and the spring which brings the blossoming and rains of a different kind. Such a period often has us instinctively ask and push for change. What we think change is going to produce isn’t often what happens. There are several elements at stake, most of which are not predictable by any other measure other than we put the work in and now we expect a result. This is normal. However, change is normal, our prediction of what it will merit us is only a guess until metrics come back to confirm or discount our thoughts.

We find that advancing groups beyond their perceptions are similar to this description of change. We are invited to an engagement becuase its clear that the way work had been done previously is no longer sufficient. However, what that change entails, or what it will create, is only a guess until it happens. We carry a few metrics towards this; however our approach is really more instinctive than it is instructive. When you feel something works or doesn’t work, is it becuase of the culture of your team or processes? Is it based on what you can measure, or is it based on what you’ve always done? Are there questions worth diving into the depths for? Or, is your product inherently competitive becuase its formations came from someone else’s expectations, not your own? These aren’t wrong questions, and the responses are both data and emotion. This is what change opens us up towards.

At the same time, this time of year motions us to be care of false warmth. False senses of prosperity and acclaim before their time. We’ve seen the trees which have taken a few warm days in the middle of February and given allergy sufferers an early does of pain. And yet, those trees jumped too far ahead. The next cold snap didn’t just break those branches on which the blossoms happened, at the next change of season, that plant was too tired from fighting to keep itself alive and therefore its early-beauty could not be maintained. It knew there was something good within it, but it jumped too early, rather than waiting until the fullness of the season’s change.

There’s language of all kinds to speak towards change. Each religion, each philosophy, and even a number of musicians have given tempo, pace, and lyric to change. Managing that change though is one part managing your own expectations, and another part being determined enough to maintain tempo, pace, and patience. You change too fast and you risk becoming the model for the next leader. You change too slow, and you’ll become subject to the change.