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Losing my way helped me see change more clearly

An experience last week enabled me to reflect upon my own vulnerability… and appreciate the importance of my role as an organizational change manager.

Victoria Marriot
I am extremely short-sighted and a little bit vain, which means I need help with my eye sight but refuse to wear or even buy any glasses. When I got into work on Wednesday last week, my eyes started to feel tired and uncomfortable. My contact lenses were irritating and I knew I needed to take them out and give my eyes a rest; it had been a busy few weeks at work leading up to Christmas and I was exhausted. I did just that and threw away my dried up contact lenses, but not having any glasses meant I could not see a thing and I had to book myself into an optometrist to pick up some fresh lenses as soon as possible.

clarity

I only had one hour to wait for my appointment but straight away I started to feel vulnerable as my vision was extremely blurred. I couldn’t really see where I was going or what was going on around me and I couldn’t see who was approaching me; I felt lost and confused.

As I made my way across the city to my appointment all I could do was focus on the ground ahead of me and follow the route displayed on my phone’s google map. I had never been to this optometrist before so I wasn’t familiar with the route or the shop itself and therefore had to rely heavily on my map.

I slowly reached the red pin, my google map destination, and suddenly realised that the address was for a rather large shopping complex with a number of levels. I entered the building and found myself walking in to a very busy food court but annoyingly there was no optometrist in sight.

With a bit of squinting, I could just make out a medical centre on the upper level, which I figured was the closest to an optometrist that I could find in my panicked state and they might just know where I needed to get to. With that thinking, I made my way to the upper level and into the medical centre and was able to catch the attention of a doctor walking by. I explained my situation and asked if she could direct me to the optometrists for my appointment.

Thankfully, the doctor knew exactly where I needed to go and was able to provide me with clear directions to the lower ground level and even walked me over to the lifts to help me on my way. I felt so relieved and so happy to have someone there to offer some guidance. It was amazing how it made me feel; like a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I now knew exactly how to get to where I needed to go and I would make it on time to my appointment. All ended well and I managed to get a new prescription and fresh set of contact lenses for the rest of the day. What a great result.

As I got back to my desk to carry on with the rest of my day, I started to reflect on my morning. I started to realise that this was a perfect analogy for how people in large organisations (like the one I work in) often felt. More often than not, people know exactly where they need to go and what they need to do when they get there. The tricky part is knowing how to actually get from A to B; having clear direction in what steps to take, what corners to turn and what level to be on to reach your destination.

The doctor was the change manager in my story; she was the friendly face and the person with the knowledge of the local area to guide me to my destination. She helped turn my difficult situation around, removing the complexity and anxiety by providing a clear path. That’s what change managers do; we help guide people to their destination through clear communication and support. It is an important role and creates the vision people need to see where they are going.

A pin in a map doesn’t give us the clear direction needed to reach our destination. There are often many routes available and it can be unclear which path to take. It is the change managers who can help facilitate these journeys, and provide the clear path where vision can be blurred. Without the doctor, I would have continued to walk around the shopping complex in my panicked state and probably wouldn’t have even noticed that there was a lower ground level.

Observing the large organisation that I work in, I can see how it has many similarities to the chaotic shopping complex that I found myself in that morning. Teams spread out across many floors and multiple buildings all performing different roles and purposes. I can even make out the panic and concern on people’s faces as they run around and move from meeting to meeting trying to achieve their goal and reach their destination. It can be an incredibly stressful environment; blurred vision is extremely stressful. Change management is important where this complexity exists; it brings the calm, it removes the panic and ensures clarity in direction so people can see where they are going. It keeps the weight lifted off people’s shoulders and ensures that nobody is alone on their journey.

This experience has inspired me to work harder on ensuring clarity in the directions I give day to day, to remove the stress and keep the smiles on people’s faces.



Have you had similar moments of recognition of the importance of change management? Tell us in the comments section below!