Take a moment and think of a large spider web.A spider web is very similar to organizations.
If you are looking directly at it, you will see many different strands connected together in a concentric circle – see left.
Now, turn the top edge of the spider web toward you 90 degrees so the web is now horizontal to the floor. Now you are only seeing a single, solid line.
This is how many efforts can be seen at work in your organization or group. Your workshop is simply one of many events that occur throughout an employee’s life at work.
Each one of those positive efforts is like pulling a single strand of the spider web.
Workshops and ‘team building’ sessions are positive experiences and each participant who leaves will be one small strand of spider web that is being pulled up, or toward the ceiling.If the strands nearby are not pulled up with the first strand, they will inevitably pull down the strand back down to the original position.
This is the inertia of our work culture – it resists change, even when positive. What is required for sustained change is one of two things:
- Continual reinforcement to keep the original strand pulled up. (See some ideas about how to follow up.)
- Make the strength of the original strand so strong, it pulls the rest of the strands up with it. You see this in large organizations the easiest. Some groups or divisions continually out-produce others. The collective bar has been raised in those divisions.
Your goal is to keep the individuals motivated and reinforced for the sustained change. If possible, you want evangelists to go out ‘preaching’ your message to others.
This is not as far-fetched as you think. We create these individuals every day and their testimonials come in daily. You can read some on our website.
You can create the same thing within your organization. But the evangelists need your help and support. There are many ways to do this.
But be sure to talk about what success looks like. How will they recognize it? How will they know they are on the path to success?
Switch, by the Heath brothers, is great follow up reading on change with an easy-to-implement model for change.