One of my favorite visuals to illustrate change is a piece of folded flip chart paper, folded in half six times until it is about the size of an index card. Then, when talking about how the change process works, you can unfold it, one fold at a time, until you get to the final reveal upon which you have written the word “WOW!”
Too many people have the misconception that change occurs only like the last time you unfold – from nothing to WOW — but in reality, it is the work done in those initial five steps that set it up to make an amazing result possible. Without this understanding, people are tempted to quit too early in the process, feeling that they have worked through four steps and have nothing to show for it. Even though what you have in the beginning does not resemble the final output, through the process of making incremental changes a transformation can occur.
Use this simple technique to remind your staff (and yourself) that change rarely happens all at once. You can use the language of “another step of unfolding” as a way to keep things in perspective and keep people motivated to press forward in order to achieve “wow” results.