What watercolours are teaching me about change and leadership – 2: Small steps and time

Last month, I started to share some of the lessons I am learning from working with watercolours. This blog continues that theme and brings me to perhaps the biggest lesson – small steps and time.

If you have dabbled in watercolours, you know if you overwork it, it allllll just goes brown – a murky mess that you can’t recover. No matter how much I want to finish a piece or practice and want to enjoy the finished outcome, it never happens in one sitting. You add some paint or change the image and then you have to let it do its thing and allow it to dry.

And then an amazing thing happens – what you thought you had and how it looks when you have allowed it to dry are 2 different things. And that only happened because you let it do its thing. I really fought that – and ended up with a lot of studies-in-brown. My teacher was patient and let me charge ahead – it was an excellent learning point. I learned to take my time, be focused in my small steps, let it do its thing and dry and continue to refine my technique. I also learned when to stop.

Insights for change practitioners and change leaders: it takes a while to learn that, with change, try small steps and let it do its thing. Allow time for it to dry or settle. Let people come to their own conclusions, ask questions, try the change on, come to you with questions or insights and even ideas for how to land the change.

You will find that, by adding small steps and time, where you thought you were and where you actually are will be 2 different things. That means the next step becomes more clear and more impactful.

Let’s continue the conversation, how we can help?

Planning to Land the Change workshop: Need a map of ‘where to next’ for your change? Need a post-implementation review from a people perspective?

This workshop is for you if you:

  • Need to quickly take stock of where a particular change initiative is at and build a pragmatic plan to move people to adopt and sustain the change
  • Need to ‘audit’ progress to your plan and get things back on track
  • Want a longer-term plan to build better change management capability in your organisation
  • Want to look at your current change management maturity and have a plan to improve it.

Watercolour by Vicky Emery.

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