Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Change and building bridges

Sometimes your role is to build a bridge between people.

I thought of this recently when presented with a situation of distance, a situation that needed a bridge. I longed for someone to build the bridge with needed information, focus, and leadership.

A similar situation I experienced long ago demanded a bridge too. In that situation, I was busy teaching and learning to the best of my ability. Then a big change was imposed on my teaching/learning program, but there was never any time to build a bridge between my busy practice and the great change. No bridge meant a less than positive transition, and much of what could have happened never happened due to a lack of a bridge.

What could have happened was the following.
  1. Acknowledging the current program strengths and needs
  2. Sharing the rationale for the imposed change--why we want to do this
  3. Meeting to discuss how the change will happen so that the positive events in place don't change, but that we make room for the new work in ways that matter. In a sense creating a bridge.
  4. Checking in on the change, continuing to bridge the efforts in ways that respect all people, protect the good work in place, and invite the new efforts in meaningful, long lasting ways.
Some people forget that good change demands good process, and that process includes bridge building. When change is imposed without good process or bridge building, it's likely that the change will bring the kind of disruption that's not positive and the kind of change that is not as good as it can be.

Who are your bridge builders? How do they build bridges between the old and the new? What do they do that's effective?