Processing Change

Ok, this will be a weird one. Much like zombies, the commuters I see everyday on the train (of which, i am one) stand in the same place to wait for the train to arrive and generally rush to the same seat when the train doors open.

We know exactly where the train stops, even though its not marked, and people arrange themselves accordingly on the platform.

So today the train stops about 10 feet short. Nobody moves. After 3 or 4 seconds, people start moving to the ‘new’ location. Then the train moves another 3 or 4 feet but still short of the usual stop.

The random comments start flying, “what’s going on?”, “oh, must be a new guy today” and “they do that on purpose you know.”

Then I notice the zombies wake up, some people are smiling, some are smiling nervously like the world is coming to an end and some look confused. I know I feel energized.

While this may sound like a silly observation, to me is shows how small changes cause strong reactions. It’s not a big deal to walk 3 feet to the train door but in 6 months of riding the train, at the first time I remember that happening.

I could visualize these folks flowing through the Satir change curve while they processes the initial chaos, feel confused about if the train will move to the right spot or not and finally the new status quo where folks accept the train stopped somewhere differently.

Now imagine how a massive change, like an Agile adoption or transformation or Big Bang process change, is going to affect people.