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Far Reach Core Value #4 - Embrace Change

“But I already know how to do it this way.”  “This has been working just fine.”  “We’ve tried that before and it didn’t work.”  We all have a million reasons for doing things the way we’ve always done them or the way we’ve always seen them done.

Far Reach Core Value #8 - Embrace Change

How often do you find yourself annoyed or threatened when someone suggests a better way; one you hadn’t thought of?  It’s human nature to stay within our comfortable routines.  We know what to expect and we feel in control.

Far Reach’s Core Value #4 – Embrace Change – proves to be a big challenge for many of us.  Working in the technology industry forces us to learn new skills and stay on top of trends.  But, being a person who embraces change goes way beyond this.  It involves curiosity, an open mind, and the belief that maintaining full control shouldn’t be your ultimate goal.  It means taking a risk now and then and, more likely than not, making mistakes along the way.

During the Team Huddle we devoted to Core Value #4, we played the Ball Point game.   The rules are very simple. You have one container full of balls, and another empty container. Over the course of two minutes, balls are removed from the full bucket. Every person in the group must touch a ball at least once before it's then placed into the empty bucket.  At the end of two minutes, the balls that made it through the group are counted.   Then, you repeat the exercise, trying to beat your previous score. The group has a little time between each attempt to improve its method. 

In our first round, we played it safe.  We passed each ball one-by-one around a circle, hitting every person. We got through about half the batch of balls.

During our strategy session before the second round, it was suggested we think of a completely different way of handling this task. We split into four smaller groups, with each group taking a turn to reach into the container full of balls and “stir” the balls around with their hands, trying to touch them all.

At the end of two minutes, all groups had finished their turns. In theory, this was more successful as many believed the entire team touched every ball in the container.  (However, a few sticklers were uncomfortable—how could we be sure we’d all touched every single ball?)

The exercise raised some interesting points. Embracing a new way of doing things can bring more fruitful results—every single person may not have touched every single ball in the second round, but it was clear we’d all gotten our hands on a lot more of them than in the first round. 

At the same time, what was the price of embracing change?  We gave up some control with the second method, but it’s likely with a few more rounds to refine our changed-up strategy we’d gain back some control.  If we’re too afraid to take on some initial uncertainty, our results are unlikely to ever see significant improvement.

We have an online portal where our team members can post links to articles and other content related to each Core Value. One of the items for Embrace Change is a Seth Godin blog post, “Understanding Stuck.”  He says to get “unstuck,” organizations need two things: 1. a vacuum (a blank page) and 2. a willingness to ignore dissent. 

Godin claims, “Change gets made by people who care, who have some sort of authority and are willing to take responsibility.”  Taking responsibility is the difficult and risky part.  It’s scary to drag others into the unknown but, if you’re that person who truly cares, you might just discover your team will willingly come along with you and share that responsibility.

Are you a person that tends to embrace change?  How do you handle the fear and risk that come along with it?