Change, Loss, and Resistance

“They have a new building, a new workplace, but there is resistance, and I do not understand why they are not embracing the change.”

In other words, “hey we invested in a new building, a new space, and they should be happy!”

There was more than a building change.

A lot changed.

We talk more about the new building, the new workplace.

We learn that there were other changes.

They used to work together, now they are alone.

They used to have space to connect as a team, now there is isolation.

They used to be comfortable and a little distant from the direct issues, now they are directly in the middle of the problem.

All this change may be a better way.

All this change may be beneficial for the job.

All this change may workout in the long-term.

Now we can understand the resistance.

Now we can understand the disruption the new building caused.

Now we can understand the loss of connection with the team.

There is a great quote about change.

“Change is a form of loss. 

You need to let people grieve it.”

The resistance is grieving a loss.

The resistance is trying to adjust to the loss of team.

The resistance is getting used to working alone.

We need to understand that the change (even if that change is ultimately good) can also create a loss.

We may need to be patient while they grieve.

We may need to understand and recognize the resistance.

We may need to provide support in the process.

We will need to explain why this change is important, and acknowledge the loss.

We may need to explain it again.

We may need to provide more support than we imagined.

We may have caused other issues that we didn’t intend.

Change: It is much harder to manage than we may have guessed.

Me Too

Two words.

Two words that are the result of your own journey, hardship, or loss.

Two words that can drive loneliness, fear, doubt, and insecurity away.

Two words that provides comfort in a time of need.

Two words that connect you to others.

I went through…

“Me too.”

I lost…

“Me too.”

I am struggling with…

“Me too.”

I feel scared, insecure, lost, not enough…

“Me too.”

These experiences mold, shape, bend, and sometimes almost break us.

And then we hear those two words that help us see that we can survive, we can move forward, we can become something else, and we can become strong.

Perhaps the more important reminder is that we are not alone.

“Me too.”


Pipelines and Pails


A friend recently told me a story about pipelines and pails. They learned about this concept in reference to creating a business that pays off in the long-term. The story compares two people one who carries two pails and gets paid for every pail. The second carries pails while spending time building something larger, something greater (a pipeline to deliver water).

If you search the concept you get a nice little cartoon about the difference.

But the concept resonated with me in a different way. I began to think about organizations and processes. I began to think about leaders, managers, and their employees. I began to see how all organizations carry buckets and how some have

Pails may be a single task, or many tasks combined together. Pails have shape and volume, and specific processes. Pails may be self-generated, or were handed down by the one who came before you. Pails are efficient when the goal is to move a small amount of something from one place to another. However, as a company grows, pails are not enough.

Pipelines are introduced to automate, streamline, and carry more something in the same amount of time. Pipelines allow a company to grow and develop and scale. But sometimes pipelines replace people or at least make them fear their presence.

Trouble may arise when you move from pails to pipelines. At first that change is tough. People got used to their pails. They painted their pails. They stenciled their name on their pails, and their kids helped decorate the little handle. They were used to pails.

The pipeline brought change.

The pipeline brought fear.

The pipeline brought loss.

The transition to pipelines from pails is not always easy. We don’t always give pail carriers time to adjust to the pipeline, or explain why they are needed.

Sometimes explaining “why” helps, and moving slowly towards that new process or procedure or method.

But pipelines do not continue without care and maintenance.

Sometimes pipelines are broken.

Broken pipelines make everyone reach back for their pails.

Sometimes people find a way to shut off the valve, and go back using pails even when they are not broken.

Sometimes that old method, process, or way returns almost without notice.

One day you are standing at the end of a broken pipeline watching people fill their pails.

Think about your organization.

Where are the pails? Where are the pipelines? Where would pipelines better serve the need? Where have pails returned? Why did the move towards the pipeline fail?

I find my mind looking for pails and how to move, scale, change, or break the status quo to ensure pipelines and their impact can be built.

To my friend: Thank You for the perspective. 

Savoring the Quirks

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Everyone has quirks.

Some quirks are endearing.

Some quirks are irritating.

Why don’t they replace that roll?

Why do they wait until the recycling is overflowing?

Why do they always bring up that thing when you visit?

Why do they [insert our issue, pet peeve, history, expectation, or offense] here?

Recently we have experienced some loss.

Recently those around us have experienced some loss.

Recently we got news that more loss is coming.

Loss causes a shift in perspective.

What was once irritation now causes comfort.

An empty roll means they are still here. Maybe just a few moments ago.

Messy toys on a table, way too many wet shoes piled in a heap by the back door, fingernail polish on the coffee table, the piercing pain when you step on a LEGO, the fuel gauge left on empty, piles of unopened mail, the strange pile of receipts by the phone, clutter on the stairs, jackets on the backs of chairs, modeling clay in the carpet, gum in the driveway, mystery stains on the kitchen floor, the overflowing hamper, the heap of clothes by the shower, whatever gets stuck in the drain, loud voices downstairs in the morning, slurping noises while drinking, loud crunchy chewing, and the list goes on, and on, and on.

Today you have all these things. Someday they will cease.

Instead of irritation. Choose savoring the quirks.

Maybe these quirks can be reminders of what you have.


The List, the Life, and the Legacy

The List

Today is the first time I am removing someone from my subscription list.  Why am I telling you?  It is important to the story.  The removal is not for anything they said, or anything they did.  Removing them is more of a painful housekeeping process because they passed away this week.  It seems like the right thing to do, so these posts are not just one more detail or item to be dealt with by the family.

The Life

I have a friend who is currently writing a book called What Will They Say?, about the lessons learned by attending funerals of 30 strangers.  Over the past year I have attended a few funerals/life celebrations and yesterday marked another.  During these events, I find myself sitting there amazed at what you learn when people talk about those who have passed, and wondering how to apply some of the lessons you learn from others’ lives.

Yesterday was no exception.  I learned about generosity combined with grace.  I learned about a person who led in all aspects of life with a quiet perseverance that impacted many of those around them.  I learned that despite being taught to take the safe route and to avoid disappointments in life by not dreaming, this person went to college, started businesses and the packed service was a testament to someone who impacted many.

The Legacy

Their passing was not a complete surprise, some illnesses are not swift and take us over a period of years.  Because of this, there was some preparation for the recent events including the passing of the company to one of the children.  A month or so ago, while celebrating the transfer of a business it became clear that the end was near and the night included celebrating the contributions and impact of this life.  Unlike yesterday, they were still with us.

This event had a greater impact on me than imagined as I watched a business person, spouse, parent, and friend pass down a legacy to each group.  I witnessed the gracious generosity of a less celebrated form of leader: one who is gentle, cares deeply, and does the right thing. 

I will be taking them off the list today and it is harder than I thought.  Perhaps that is part of my own grieving process to write about this, and challenge myself to live differently today.  We don’t always know the impact we have on others (for good for bad) and while reflecting I wonder if this person knew how much impact they were having on me.  Their impact on me was subtle, but there is something to be said about the impact of a life well lived.  Maybe that was the best lesson of all.