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by | May 3, 2020

How was the last week for you?  At home we are experimenting with new things to do and the bikes were finally rediscovered after years of neglect at the back of the garage.  So, this week’s goal is to get them road worthy again and then actually go out for our first bike ride in probably about 25 years!  I will let you know how it goes.

This week I have also been listening to all the hypotheses about what will happen when we come out of this lockdown situation.  I was reminded of an activity called ‘The Change Line’ that we used to run at large change management events when I worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers.  We would separate the group into two and get them to stand in two long lines opposite each other.  Each person was effectively paired up with their opposite number.  Then we started the activity.  Round one each person would turn around and change six things about themselves.  After a few minutes they turned back around and the person opposite had to describe what had changed.  The first round was relatively easy.  Then we started with round two….

With round two each person must change six more things about themselves.  During this round they usually learn to become more innovative with their changes.  What might have been removing a jacket in round one becomes a new hairstyle in round two!  Again, they turn back around, and their partner opposite describes what has changed.  Round three is usually the most fascinating round as six more changes are required.  Often people start to swop things with the person to their left or right, exchanging clothing, glasses, shoes and so on.  There is a lot of collaboration and community spirit in this round.  As facilitators we debrief the process and bring out the implications for a change project at work.  Then we ask everyone to sit back down in their chairs.  What the delegates do not know that this is the most interesting part for us.  Can you guess why?  In many years of doing this activity, only once has someone kept all the changes they made.  Most people put everything back exactly as it was and return to ‘normal’. 

I have been reflecting on this for our current situation.  How many people just want to put their lives back exactly how they were?  And how many of us will be more courageous and ask ourselves a much more interesting question?  What have we learnt that is good about this period of our lives and how can we keep the changes going for ourselves, our families, our work, our communities, and our planet?  Which camp are you in?

Stay safe

Lindsey Agness and Team NLP x

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