How easy is it to participate in change?
Such an incredibly easy read it was and yet drew an everyday live picture of how things work around us. Change happens everywhere. You had your haircut done, moved house, your project got changed right in the middle of it — at least once in your life, you experienced change. And you know that it is not easy. Some people don’t mind it, but some will not take it very well at all.
Reading this story I was thinking of all the places that I worked and I found the characters from the book all around myself. Can’t decide yet who am I. Thinking about it I would like to be a little bit of each of them, that would make a perfect mix, but in reality, we are all different and we take things differently too.
Either you are Fred, Alice, Louis, Buddy, or A Professor it's not easy to drive the change. Following the story it made me think about why certain things happened and how did they arrive at those points. It made think of some of those characters and what would make them do things as they did. Psychological safety was the very first one that came to my mind. Change is always difficult to accept especially when something was going on for ages. There have to be good reasons why we should do things differently. And sometimes it is really hard to show those reasons.
NoNo was in charge of weather. It should have been him giving a warning sign, but instead, it was a different penguin that came up with the warning signs of melting iceberg. What do you think about how NoNo felt after this? Probably not very confident to go back to the team and admit that he was wrong, because maybe not everyone accepts failure? Things go wrong all the time, but if it's not a culture where you can make mistakes and learn from it, it becomes really hard to prove yourself to the team again.
These days it makes me think how would you re-write this story to make it more a reality — where loads of people work from home and communication probably suffers in some cases, even more, meetings take longer, people are afraid to share their frustration because they don’t want to cause more issues. A change had to happen overnight, where it was announced lockdown and everyone got stuck at home — alone, with kids, with elderly family members. Everyone had to learn how to cope with it, but maybe not everybody succeeded?
I am still trying to work out how to manage this situation. Sometimes I myself am not in a mood for small talk, sometimes I feel like it's hard to get emotions through the laptop screen, sometimes its hard to understand if people get what I am trying to say or no, sometimes I can’t hear myself so I try even harder to make sense and it all comes out completely wrong. Sometimes I feel that psychological safety bothers me more than ever. There were days when I was afraid to say a word and I preferred to just stay quiet. And I believe there are people feeling exactly the same.
So not only the change is a challenge these days, but ensuring that everyone feels like they are part of the team — is too. Accepting different opinions, different approaches, and differences in general, either its language or color is important. Make people accountable. Make them feel like they are part of your team and that they can be heard. Sometimes that is all it takes. But most importantly — explain yourself and why somebody should want to go with you on that ‘change’ journey. It will be worth it.