I was in my Starbucks a few days ago and realized as I was putting skim in my venti half-caf cup of Pike, that they had moved the bar with all the cream and sugar slightly to the right of where it usually is. As I was getting my coffee, there were a couple other people there trying to fulfill their own caffeine addictions. The whole situation made me think of how people cope with change and how the Church walks alongside of them through the process.
That day in Starbucks, I observed three perspectives on change…
1. The Oblivious One
This was me. In this particular situation I didn’t notice the new placement of the counter. If it hadn’t been for one of the others at the counter noticing it, I never would have realized it. The problem with the Oblivious One is that they have a tendency to follow along and when they do, they could follow either of the others. I have found that it is important to make sure that when trying lead people through change, that you get to these people before someone else does.
2. The Hysterical One
This person couldn’t believe that they would change the location of the condiment counter. She was just standing back making that sound we all make when we are appalled at something. You know that grunty sound. She was just huffing and puffing in protest to the idea of that counter being moved three feet to the right. These are the people in our churches that raise the terror alert level to red when the communion table is moved 6 inches from the location that Jesus put it when he left earth (“I’m sensing your sarcasm. Good cause I am laying it on pretty thick”). I am still learning how to managing these folks effectively. As you can see, my tendancy is often unproductive sarcasm. In the case of the Starbucks condiment counter, I just shook my head in disbelief of her reaction and left for the office. The major issue with this type of individual is that they can raise the hysteria to a blinding level and get some of the Oblivious ones lathered up in the frenzy.
3. The Evalutator
This is the guy that stops, looks around, evaluates the situation and sees the value in the change and jumps right into the new situation. This was the guy who looked at the counter placement, realized that the move gave the customers more room to maneuver for their drinks while others could doctor theirs up at the counter. Once the Evaluator gets the “why” to go with the “what,” he/she gets it. True Evaluators are folks we want in on the change process. They think critically and bring good discussion to the process. They bring up issues that maybe we haven’t thought of. In the case of Starbucks, the Evaluator was on board with the change and tried to explain the value of the change to the Hysterical One.
Managing change well is something I am learning. Maybe I am off base with these types. Give me some feedback!
What other personality types have you seen in the change process? How have you coped?