“They didn’t warn me,” Olivia, the cat.
When big change happens in your organization, it’s crucial to be sure everyone knows what’s happening and why.
I recently visited my daughter in Colorado. She and my granddaughter have been strictly following COVID-19 safety precautions, and as a result have had no overnight visitors for nearly a year. Three months ago, they adopted a kitten, and named it Olivia. Olivia really only knows the two women in the household. All other humans are an unknown thing to her.
When I arrived, Olivia took one look at me and scrambled for safety. My daughter tried to introduce us and ended up with a couple of scratch wounds instead. My first night there, the cat was so frightened, she slept in a dresser drawer. Closed.
On the second day of my visit, Olivia started to explore the same room I was in. On three different occasions she came close enough to touch my hand with her nose. She did this all on her own and unprompted. In fact, when my granddaughter attempted to facilitate an introduction, Olivia fled. She was willing to try to figure out this new being in her home, but she had to do it on her own terms.
When we introduce big change in our organizations, we need to be sure employees understand the purpose and the why. Most importantly, we need to give employees time to figure out the change for themselves, including the impact of the change.
We may not have been able to communicate with Olivia about the purpose of my visit, but we gave her the time she needed to figure out on her own who I was, and that I would not hurt her.
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