The temptation when painting a wall is to open the can and dive right into painting. We are excited to see the paint up on the wall and quickly bring our vision to fruition. In our eagerness we overlook the crooked paint line where the wall meets the ceiling, or the drops on the floor that never quite come out. But over time, those imperfections become glaringly obvious and their presence spoils the realization of the project. We regret not having taken the time to put down the drop cloths just so or spending the hours needed to carefully lay down the blue tape around all the edges. If only we had taken the time.
When we introduce change to our teams, even necessary, positive change, we often follow this same temptation. We’re moving to bigger, cooler offices close to more things! What could go wrong? We’re introducing a new team member to make everyone’s workload easier. Everyone will be open and accepting, right? Or perhaps the changes are necessary to fix a negative or unproductive ambiance. Regardless, our excitement to get to the results of our projected vision, cause us to overlook the necessity of prep.
Yes prep is boring and painstakingly tedious. But the payoff is huge. Prepping a wall for paint seems to always take longer than anticipated, but once that work is done, the painting is always faster, better and cleaner than if we skipped the prep. And the final product is a beautifully painted wall that lasts for years, with no eye-sores to draw away our attention.
Prepping a team for change can be equally boring and painstakingly tedious. Do we really have to review or confirm fundamentals? We know the answer is yes. Taking the time to walk the team, step-by-step through the new vision, the reasons as to why change is the right decision at this time, the benefits to everyone, the realistic drawbacks, what remains consistent and on which they can continue to rely upon, what the actual changes are and when they will happen, asking for input and really listening, all pays off. It takes time to do, it cannot be done all at once and painstaking repetition brings about results much like that painted wall. The prep will take time, but once the changes start they will go smoothly, quickly and with a fully engaged team.