We have a raccoon problem in my neighborhood. Raccoons, being as intelligent as they are, have been knocking over garbage cans and feasting on what is left inside. This has led many of us on our street to have to clean up lots of garbage the next morning; never a fun experience at six a.m. While I can’t be certain they are raccoons, I have a pretty good sense of it. . . we have a large number of them in our neighborhood, and like most nocturnal creatures, they are constantly out and about in the evening.
This has led us to shift our schedule in our time to take out the trash. While we would normally do this the evening before, in many cases, we’re now taking our garbage cans outside early in the morning, sometimes a few minutes before the garbage trucks arrive. Particularly when there is a lot of trash going out, we err on the side of caution and bring everything out in the morning.
What’s the leadership and learning connection here?
Well simply that when our leading/learning procedures need to be removed, edited, or altered, we have to be willing to change up our way of life, to make sure that those changes impact everyone in the most positive way.
Taking out the trash doesn’t (and shouldn’t) be seen as a bad thing. We need to make shifts in the way we work and live from time-to-time. But, we need to do so in such a way that we avoid the issues that might arise from having the trash spread all over the place, leaving a tremendous mess to clean up.
That often means being transparent about change, including the “why,” the “how,” and the “what.” It also means preparing those we serve for the change, which could include sharing the rationale way in advance, providing data to support the need for change, and making sure that as the change is taking place, everyone feels safe, secure, and supported.
Making change, in itself, is never a bad thing. The bad things, rather, come from us not preparing ourselves and others for the change, and leaving the lid off the trash, thereby making it easier for it to lead to a tremendous mess, and require a huge clean up.