Or, why my life as a consultant sometimes feels like a troll…
Let me explain. For the three or four of you who have not seen the Disney film Frozen, this blog may be a struggle, but hang in there with me.
As for me, with two little girls in my house, it has been on continuous loop – the movie plays when we are in the house and the soundtrack plays whenever we are on the road.
As we were watching recently, my 10 year old and I had a discussion of how all the tragedy in the film could have been diverted if the King and Queen had just listened to their trusted advisors, the trolls. (Can you see now where I’m headed?)
You see, young Elsa had the gift of being a snow princess and could create ice out of mid-air, and the trolls explained to the King and Queen that there was both great beauty and great danger in her gift, and that fear of it would be her greatest enemy. Very powerful stuff.
In response, the King said, basically “Okay, so we’re going hide her away from everyone and lock her up in a room keep her completely isolated from everyone including her best friend and sister and teach her to hide this gift and totally deny it so no one ever knows about it.”
I can imagine the trolls saying, “What? Didn’t you listen to any of the words that just came out of my mouth?”
As an advisor myself, I have to admit that I feel that way sometimes. There are times when we have clients who are in great turmoil themselves and faced with incredible challenges, and incredible changes to what they know. Sometimes our recommendations mean doing something radically different than what has been done before – changing a process and changing a culture. Sometimes it means doing things that are outside your comfort zone and challenging as an individual.
But can you imagine if the King and Queen in Frozen had been willing to commit to this change? Life did change for them, but they chose safe change. What if they chose the beautiful, dangerous change? What if they had chosen to teach young Elsa to use her power and taken her across the world to drought impoverished countries in which she could have created giant glaciers that could have slowly melted to irrigate crops? It would not have been the comfortable life they had known, but the benefits would have been amazing.
That is the whole key to change management. It’s called management for a reason – it’s not change denial, or change avoidance, or change let’s-pretend-it’s-not-there-and-maybe-it-will-go-away.
We have to manage change.
We have to make decisions based upon what it best for everyone involved – balancing the needs of the employee with the operations of the organization. It can be challenging, it can even be scary, but it can be incredibly rewarding to maneuver the process and see how individuals and an organization can develop and grow when everyone is willing to take the risks together.
One thing I have learned in doing HR for so many years, and especially as a consultant, is that you never know what challenges are going to come your way as an organization.
You can deny them, or you can take them, make the best of them, and use them to your advantage.
When it’s time for your organization to be struck by change, are you going to complain about the cold, or are you going to challenge your team to build a snowman?