In the change parable book, Who Moved My Cheese, the characters (most of them anyway) went searching for new “cheese” because the “old cheese” was no longer there (cheese represents something important to them). They didn’t plan to look for anything new until the old was gone. I think we are experiencing a lot of this right now as things have changed and it doesn’t look like the “old cheese” is coming back anytime soon. As we experience change, it is important to acknowledge that the change can be really difficult and we don’t need to minimize that for ourselves or our partners and colleagues. One of the most important things we can do is to listen and show empathy during this time. In addition, as leaders of partnerships and coalitions, it’s also very important for us to consider what new opportunities may be possible in the midst of change. Some of the “new cheese” may even be better than the “old cheese.” Join me this week as we ask three questions that will help us look for new opportunities in the midst of change.
- What is possible? (may begin with “what is not possible”?). Sometimes, we can easily see “what is not possible” and we may be tempted to stop after answering that question. If we are going to look for new opportunities, we need to ask the follow-up question “What is possible?” This Spring, I had several training and facilitation opportunities that were canceled (or moved to be virtual). It was no longer possible for me to go in person and do what was originally planned. However, it became possible for me to provide new training sessions to groups virtually. It also became possible for me to do this work from home which helped my daughter (who is 3) to be less anxious (she really struggles when I travel – and last week said, “When you leave, I miss you.”). When it comes to some of the coalition work we are doing, we are now able to reach more partners through webinars or virtual meetings than we could have reached conducting only in-person meetings.
- What have I wanted to try but wasn’t sure it would work? This is closely related to the question we asked during the first post on change, “What would I do if I weren’t afraid?” Perhaps you have a new idea for how to connect with your partners or maybe you realize that you need to prioritize your coalition’s commitments. You may want to try a new framework to guide your decision-making or a new approach to your strategic plan. Maybe it’s time for you to try asking for help in new ways to implement your projects or maybe you would like to stop checking emails or work on the weekends and take more time to rest.
- What have your partners told you was most important to them? This is a great time to review past evaluation results. Perhaps you have asked lots of questions but haven’t taken the time to really review what you have learned from others. This may be a time to start asking some new questions in order to better understand what is important to your partners. I’m currently reading a fabulous new book “Ask Powerful Questions” by Will Wise and I’m inspired to improve my curiosity in order to create better connections and new opportunities. Consider what you can implement in your coalition or team based on what you learned from your partners about what is most important to them.
So, what about you? What questions have you been asking to identify new opportunities?
If you missed my Facebook Live on this post, check it out here!