What if we took all the people, processes, Google Forms, and Trello cards and put them into a giant snow globe and shook it up. Through gravity, things would settle into some kind of order, maybe the wrong one maybe the right one. The mess would be, basically, real life.
Once everything settles, people learn how to navigate the morass and resistance sets in. It’s gravity at work. Some people build resistance to change because they got really good navigating the mess and define their success in their ability to maneuver around in it. Some get cynical about it but they resist changing because at least they understand the mess. That mess of processes and personalities becomes the day to day quagmire of our lives, but I’m getting off topic…..
I was on a call the other day with some senior leadership (not saying who or where). The Big Boss, a guy who’s built a large and successful organization, started off the call by throwing a spreadsheet up to highlight something a concern about a process he was considering changing. It was a great little capsule of a leadership moment.
In making this presentation, I’m not entirely sure what his intent was — but chaos ensued. With fifteen managers on the call, collectively, they must have had thirty reasons why we shouldn’t change the status quo. That’s the quagmire, the gravity I’m talking about. Anyone who wants to drive a change has to face it, even this senior director who has a ton of credibility.
Again, I don’t know what his intent was but I know he’s effective. So one possible goal he may have had was to actually double down on the current process by making people aware of an issue. By this, he might be leveraging the gravity of the status quo. It’s possible.
More likely, he’s using his position to defy gravity. That is, he’s shaking up that snow globe we live in and sending the snow flakes flying, hoping that once they’re in motion he can influence the way they land — and change our microcosm of a culture topology in the process.
Whatever it is, I thought it was an interesting scenario to relay to you. If you want to lead, remember gravity can be a tool for you to use even when you feel frustrated by it.