Yesterday I read a piece about the history of Daylight Savings Time (DST). I always knew that there was pushback, but I never realized that the use of it varied over the last one hundred years. Nor did I realize just how divided many municipalities were, and how challenging its use (or lack thereof) was for different constituents of people.
While change is never easy, it becomes even harder when the purpose or rationale for the change isn’t clear. While DST might have on the surface been said to be all about the people (i.e. more time during the day to accomplish work, light longer into the evenings in spring and summer for outdoor events, etc., bubbling under the surface were the political ramifications (i.e. tremendous lobbying as businesses felt that more daylight supported higher sales [while farming lobbies were against it. . . darker mornings making it harder to get out and get started each morning]).
Clearly, in the case of DST, there was, and still is, no clear rationale for why it even exists, or certainly not one that everybody sees the value in.
How do we lead and learn with rationale at the forefront? We might consider these three steps:
1. Look at what the data says. Consider the implications of any change prior to instituting it. While we might not like certain sets of data, we can’t really argue with facts.
2. Ask people what they think. While a rationale speaks for itself, unless we have a wave of support, not everyone can hear it. It’s important to pre-check on whether an initiative and its purpose hits home. Who can you bounce ideas off of to check your thinking?
3. Rethink the initiative if the rationale appears to be falling flat. Even in the best-case scenario, sometimes our purpose and what happens don’t match. In those cases, it pays to stop pushing a change, and consider a new direction.
I’m not sure what the future holds for DST, but as I sit here this morning yawning away, I have to ask myself, “Why do we do this again?”