We live in a “No! Not Yet!” household. Both “no” and “not yet” are two of the most often used phrases and terms in our home. With two kids under seven, maybe it is to be expected, but let’s just say we hear those words quite a bit.
There isn’t necessarily a problem with being so engaged in something that you don’t want to transition. But, I’ll admit, as a parent, sometimes it can be tough to tell whether it is true engagement and a lack of desire to transition, or more simply the pushback that comes with setting rules, defining lines, and exploring consequences.
In our work as leaders and learners as well, we have to determine where the “No! Not Yet!” pushback is coming from. Is it due to our colleagues’ deep investment in a current initiative that they truly love? Is it because they simply can’t handle “one more thing?” Is it because we’ve come across a community culture obstacle that isn’t yet ready to be breached?
There are three questions I think we can ask ourselves to deduce which of these it might be. First, is the current work built around ideas that were designed by the people involved with it? Second, is the work that people are exploring innovative and encouraging (or are they simply going through the motions)? Finally, how many different initiatives are currently being explored (we have a hard time remembering upwards of three ideas at the same time; how many initiatives can we handle)?
These aren’t necessarily THE questions, but they are three that can help us get insight into why we hit the “No! Not Yet!” roadblock, and whether it is actually a good roadblock to hit, or one to be avoided. And what do we do once we’ve determined the reason? Well, if it is a good roadblock, and our community values the current work, then we need to advocate to those who lead us that more time is needed, and we must showcase the excellent work being done. If it is a roadblock to avoid? Then we need to begin transitioning people, slowly at first, at with our early adopters in the lead, to an investigation that might be more suited to our organization’s continuous improvement. In many cases, this type of shifting takes time and requires hard work (why, at least in our house, transitioning to “bedtime” from “artwork time” is a big challenge). But, one of the goals of learning/leadership (and parenting) is to understand that ships can’t just go in one direction; constant readjustment is required to reach our destination.
As I write this, we’re about to transition our kids to getting ready for the day. I anticipate a “No! Not Yet!” response and also know that without that transition, we would be playing Sesame Street all day (not necessarily a bad thing, but. . . ). Of course, leading, learning, and parenting, were never meant to be easy. One of the fun challenges is figuring out how to best help people get to not only where they want to go, but where we hope for them to be in the future.