I worked on a jigsaw puzzle and was struck at all the parallels to organizational change:

  • Even when you have a vision (the box) and know all the pieces are there, it is still sometimes difficult to believe that it will all come together.
  • It is challenging to know what to do next after finishing the frame – you often believe there is a “right” answer when really the next thing to do is just to begin somewhere.
  • There are many pieces required to realize the vision (in this case, 1000 of them) and all are equally important.
  • When you get stuck –as you will – it’s best to move on to another piece of the puzzle and keep making progress elsewhere. I didn’t work on all the sections simultaneously, rather finished one image at a time.
  • Oftentimes, moving around to view the pieces from a different perspective helps immensely, as does walking away from it and coming back later. I was able to easily find several pieces in the morning that eluded me the night before.
  • Small details often seem insignificant at first but then later prove to be just what you needed to make a connection.
  • I was convinced that a piece was missing – which it wasn’t – but, like change, it sometimes seems like the task is impossible.
  • Change takes time. Even with the vision set and all the pieces assembled – which of course never happens in real life – it took several days to finish.

Putting together a jigsaw puzzle can be a good change exercise for your staff. Leave a puzzle out on in a common space and then ask people to reflect on the lessons learned after it is assembled. The fact that a simple exercise is challenging could give them some perspective on how to persevere and give you shared language to use in your change journey.

Anyone find the piece with blue sky and a red tab on top?

Just begin!
The missing piece — that wasn’t missing
Keep making progress where you can
The end is in sight!

 

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: