change - Sometimes we just need to rip the Band-Aid off and make it happen all at once. I’m here to challenge that thought. Recently I was running and took a bad spill. I skinned my knee, elbow and foot. I wasn’t so injured that I needed medical care. I just had some serious scrapes that left me reliant on bandages for over a week. One particular night when I was changing the bandage on my knee – I ripped the Band-Aid off and literally ripped off some healthy skin that was surrounding my scrape. I now had an additional wound requiring attention that was completely unnecessary.
How often do we do this in organizations without even realizing it? We cause extra damage by the speed in which we move. Sometimes we are so quick with our decisions that we forget that we can get better and more sustained results by slowing down. We think if we slow down it will be a greater pain that will linger and be remembered, pain by inches, versus pain all at once that quickly is forgotten. If you’ve ever ripped off healthy skin by accident, you’ll know that this pain is not quickly forgotten and it can take up to several weeks for the skin to regenerate and heal.
- You forget important details when rolling out the change
- You overly rely on consultants or labor that isn’t internal or committed to your organization
- Conflict between decision-makers erupt and disagreements surface with no time to mediate
- Your pace-setter employees who are “change champions” fall ill or their fatigue slows down the roll-out
- Key individuals hold most of the information and when they are unavailable, processes slow down or come screeching to a halt
- Mistakes are made that could have been avoided had there been more time to discuss and come to agreement
- Key messages are delivered without intention or before all the facts are present
Yes, it is painful to pull off a bandage a small section at a time, but in most cases there are far fewer unintended surprises. There will be consistent discomfort and many may find it uncomfortable. The majority though, will know that the incremental stages of change that lead to a new future (a bandage-free healthy limb) will be able to hang in there until the end. No change is mess free, but a “rip-the-Band-Aid-off” type of change is rarely the best approach.
Have you seen this type of Band-Aid damage recently both at a national and local level? What changes have you made too quickly? What did you do to help heal the healthy-skin-damage?