Leading long-term change: Can the…ehem…USPS give us guidance?

When you think “United States Postal Service,” effective change management probably doesn’t come to mind.

It goes without saying that living through long-term change is difficult. With a field of vision several years in the distance, how do you keep your people interested, motivated, and believing that a) the change will come and b) that it will mean something?  The progress that you can see through the day-to-day lens of “doing work” often seems insignificant.  This leads believers to lose heart (or focus) and allows resistors to affirm their suspicions that the proposed change lacks meaning.  How then can we shepherd change in a way that gives hope to the hopeful and evidence to the skeptical?

I recently read a travel blog post that described a desert mystery that might “point the way.”

What big arrows can you lay down to point the way to the ultimate destination?  And what meaning can you make of those big concrete arrows?  We often see benchmarks as points along the way toward a place of meaning, as if the arrows pointing the way are themselves less meaningful.  Let’s never forget that the benchmarks we create as waypoints toward change can have enormous impact for your team or community as a source of inspiration, growth, and reflection.

Don’t simply fly over the arrows…go in for a landing and build something there.  Celebrate them and learn from them.