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Change Saturation

J: Welcome to Slingshot25’s Shotcast, a series of bite-sized podcasts that will feel like an espresso shot straight to your brain. I’m Jackie. 

C: I’m Courtney.

J: Something we’ve been thinking about, Courtney, is this idea of how we deal with change and like the constant evolving nature of change in our organizations. It’s on everybody’s mind. So, it’s on our minds too. 

C: Yeah, we get a lot of questions, a lot of clients, a lot of work around it. I’ve been noticing a theme about change saturation and people talking about change capacity. I’ve actually added some stuff to our Navigating Change Masterclass to help people separate and get clear about change saturation versus change capacity and what’s really going on there.

I think about change capacity is how much capacity do we have to lead change and the people talking to me about it are saying, “Hey, I’ve just got to get my leadership teams to slow down”. “We got too much going on here and somebody needs to tap the brakes.” There’s this voice in my head saying, that’s never going to happen.

J: There’s no such thing as a viable organization out there anywhere in the world that’s going to stand on a stage in front of their employees and say, “Okay, I realized we’ve just had too much change happening in this last year, so we’re just going to stop for a while.”

C: Exactly. Exactly. And so I have a lot of empathy when people are saying this. What I think what they’re telling me is, “we’re saturated, we’re tired, we’re really exhausted from all the changes that are going on”. And I think they’ve kind of twisted capacity with saturation and I think that the reason people get saturated is not because we don’t have a capacity to change.

It’s because we’re not managing it. So I use the fire analogy and fire imagery in the change class because what happens is we make a lot of changes. We don’t manage them and we essentially we start fires and we let the smoke get to our people. And they have smoke coming from all these fires and they can’t breathe and they’re overtired.

They have a lot going on. And the answer isn’t, “Oh, you know what? These people are choking for breath. They’re tired out”. What we need to do is get them an oxygen mask. We need to give them resiliency training. 

J: Yeah. So we get this backwards a little bit, right?

C: When the answer is actually, “Hey, let’s manage the changes”.

C: You’re never going to have a change that doesn’t have some dust and ashes and craziness. That’s part of the process. But, if we managed it better and we kept the smoke level down and we gave our people a chance, I think we’re actually…from a capacity…like how much bandwidth we have as human beings, we’re wired to change. We have a tremendous amount of capacity to change, but we can’t do it if we don’t manage it. We can’t do it if we don’t have capacity for it and we certainly can’t do it if we think that the people that are taking on so much are the problem and they need fixed with some resiliency training.

J: Yeah. So this takes me into thinking about really, you know, the fuller job of a leader, which is to manage the environment. We talk about this all the time. It’s a leader’s job to manage the environment. And I think we should definitely be on record here, Courtney, of saying we really like the idea of resilience training and gratitude training and emotional intelligence training.

All of those things that help you to navigate your own world in a healthier way, in a way that, you know, sort of manages your inputs and you know, teaches you to deal with all of the challenges in your life. We love that stuff. We love that stuff. The challenge is, I think what you’re saying, Courtney, is if that’s it. If that’s how we deal with the problems that come with a lot of change in our organizations…is to send the people who are on the receiving end of all of that change to resiliency training so that they can suck it up. 

C: That’s right. That’s right. I say it a lot. I think I say in every single class that if you’re a gardener and your flower…I might’ve said on this shot cast before, right? If you’re a gardener and your flower is not growing, you don’t say, “Oh, I have a bad flower”. Right? You have to fix the environment that it’s in, right? And so when we say, “Man, my people need more resilience training, they need better skills, they need to be more change adaptive” we are essentially saying, “Oh, that’s a bad flower”.

We want to help the flower, give it those things. But we also want to look at the soil and the water and the job expectations and the tools. Right? 

J: Do flowers have job expectations? 

C: Well, I’m shifting the analogy on you. Go with me. Go with me. 

J: Blending the metaphor. 

C: Oh my goodness, I’ve lost her. Maybe it’s time to wrap it up for today.

J: So I think, I hope that all of us, listening here got the message. 

C: All four of you are counted and appreciated. 

J: I got the message that you’ve got to take a much larger view of things and be really, just be really cautious and careful.

Although we love that you invest in the personal development of your employees to help them be better people, just be careful how you’re really managing the balance of how you go about managing change. 

So I think that’s all we’ve got for today. But we always have much more to say. So if you want, drop us a line at Bye.

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