While I was driving down the road in the rain, wipers running at top speed, peering beyond the vehicle to the street and traffic, I came to a stop. The stop was both literal – at the stop sign – and figurative – a mental stop sign.
The mental “stop sign” was part of an ongoing thought process from earlier today. This morning, I was having a conversation about organizational change and how to introduce change models to a leadership team. Another person in the conversation asked, “What would be a good metaphor for introducing a change model?”
Two hours later, driving through pouring rain, this presented itself: When I’m driving I see through the windshield. I use a windshield every day, but how often do I stop to think about the windshield itself?
One metaphor for a change model is a windshield. The windshield is allows us to drive safely in challenging weather conditions, protects us from bugs and thrown rocks. It also allows passengers to see clearly and ride in safety. Like the windshield, organizations and individuals have belief systems that allow us to “drive through” life experiences without thinking about the belief system or mental model.
Consider the windshield …. In the same way, a change model offers a “windshield” experience. It offers a mechanism for viewing the world. It offers a way to navigate the landscape ahead. And, just as windshield systems come with wipers and wiper fluid, change models include tools to navigate landscapes altered by adverse conditions and reduced visibility.
If you are an organization leader, I encourage you to get to reflect on the belief system and mental model that you use to navigate your world. Then I challenge you to research at least one new change model. As organizations face ongoing, discontinuous change, this is the equivalent of cleaning your windshield of bugs and dirt, topping off the windshield wiper fluid, and buying new wipers.
What is your preferred change model?