When my mum was critically ill more than 20 years ago, friends and relatives rallied to help.
Truth be told, there was nothing anyone of them could do as mum had the best health-care money could buy.
But as someone who knows a little about “the psychology of change” my dad didn’t want to shut people out and as much as our family valued privacy, we recognized why certain people wanted so much to help.
Some were genuinely concerned not just for mum but also for the well-being of my dad and my sis.
Though there were many places at the hospital where we could get sustenance, friends and relatives came visiting with tonic soup, and ample supply of cakes and food. Many others were armed with moral support and advice, and many just wanted to provide us company as we kept vigil in the hospital.
My boss at that time even came with a guitar and a huge flask of my favorite drink and stayed overnight with me.
Bottom line: we didn’t keep anyone at arm’s length.
Asking for – and or accepting help – is not a sign of weakness.
When was the last time you turned away help?
Did you turn away help because it would inconvenient you?
Did you turn away help because you would appear helpless?
Did you turn away help because you didn’t want your family members to see the types of friends you have?
In change management, much has been preached about the concept of “ownership” – how being part of a process will empower people to be committed to it.
This concept is easy to expound on but difficult to put into practice.
It’s a lot easier – and less time-consuming – to just take the lead and forge ahead and shut out others.
But if those who care for you are denied ownership of your problem, soon, they will find others to help. They may even question their standing in your eyes, if you truly consider them a friend and a member of your inner circle. Once they get the message, they will know where they stand in your eyes and make themselves scarce. People are not stupid, they will fade away but their graceful exit may leave you in a lurch eventually.
This is why many change management projects fail. If leaders would rather work alone, the rest of the people will happily let them be. Just don’t count on us for support when you really need it.
Yes, change management is more than just a lot of talk, lots of hot air, colorful balloons, free t-shirts and baseball caps, feel good parties and fancy coffee cups.
It’s allowing space in your life to embrace those who sincerely care, even though they – and the process to include them – may seem to be a bit of a nuisance at times.