My son was watching the Disney/Pixar movie Up the other day, a wonderful (you might say ‘uplifting’) tale about an elderly man who embarks on an unlikely adventure. It reminded me of the journey companies go through when they’re undergoing a change initiative (most of which tend to fail). It’s a tough process, a marathon rather than a 100 yard dash, and you encounter plenty of obstacles along the way.
But I think the ‘up’ theme is interesting. A company which adopts a new vision (where they want to go) is hoping for some kind of ‘elevation’ – perhaps a higher profile and increased sales. You’ll certainly need some loftier thinking within the business, to rise above the day-to-day pressures and see the bigger picture.
It involves many small changes – lots of ‘mini-moments’ rather than seismic shifts. These might involve a little more floor-walking by the boss, a new style of staff meeting, a different way of answering the phone, sharing stories and reflecting on experiences.
Each of these micro acts can be represented by a balloon. As you inflate more balloons the ‘house’ starts to lift off the ground. Sure, you may meet resistance; some of your balloons get popped and you’ll lose a little altitude.
But you press on, and eventually the house begins to fly high. Those who originally struggled to come on board start to wonder what the view is like up there, and hopefully they’ll climb the rope you’ve left dangling over the edge and join the rest of the team.
It is easy? It is quick? No. You need lots of balloons and lots of puff but it’s well worth the effort!