The other day I heard a presentation on How to Be a Change Agent. It was good material on how to lead and champion changes so that they are effective and stick. A lot of the content was from “Managing Transitions” by William Bridges and we learned the difference between ‘transition’ and ‘change’.
One exercise that was particularly powerful for me was a personal change that the presenter asked us to implement in order for us to really experience change and gain an understanding of what people are going through when someone causes a change to their normal processes.
He told us to switch the contents of our pockets. Put the stuff in your right hand pocket into your left hand pocket and vice versa. For those who didn’t have pockets (or stuff in them) he asked them to switch their watch to the other wrist. Then he said that we have to try and keep it in this new place for one week.
It seemed very trivial, but I played along, and right away I began to experience the annoyance of the change. I always keep my keys and phone in one pocket and my wallet in the other. After I switched, it kept driving me crazy. But I recognized the purpose and tried to learn from the experience.
It was eye opening because every time I was inconvenienced, only because it was against my routine, I realized how people might feel about a change that was imposed on them where they don’t really see the benefit over the old way they used to do things.
This was true experiential learning for me. We’ll see if I can keep it up for a week.
You should try it.