Thursday, June 20, 2024

What Toilet-Training my toddler Taught Me about change management

It was a Tuesday afternoon, and I had just finished a grueling design authority session when I smelled something foul. My poker-trained eyes spotted a tell on my toddler's face: He was about to soil his pants.
I then ran behind my toddler, begging him to use the toilet. Trying various methods of persuasion, I begged him to use the toilet. This scene was familiar in our house ever since my partner and I began training him to use the toilet. He giggled, darting around like it was a game of tag. As I finally caught up to him and we triumphantly reached the bathroom, I realized this chaotic scene had uncanny parallels to change management in the workplace. It's not the act in itself but the various persuasion techniques and changing behavior embedded in my toddler's whole life.
Here are some of the lessons my toddler taught me in change management.
Change Takes Time
Just as toddlers need time to adjust to potty use, employees and team members need time to adapt to changes. Rushing the process can lead to setbacks. Start small but determined steps.

Celebrate Small Wins
Recognize and celebrate every small success. Positive reinforcement encourages continued progress. Show them the benefits of the new ways and bring out the shiny numbers, outstanding reports, and dashboards.

Clear Instructions
Toddlers need clear, simple instructions, and so do team members. Avoid jargon and ensure everyone understands their role and the steps involved. Make a video walkthrough that users can refer to whenever they want. I have also found that clear instructions or how-to pages work better than a twenty-minute video.

Adjust Your Approach
What works for one toddler may not work for another. Similarly, different team members may respond better to various strategies. Be prepared to adjust your approach as needed. Some are quick to adopt change, others are slow to pick up stuff, and there is progress as long as we move forward.

Provide Support
Just as toddlers need support and reassurance, so do team members. Offer training, resources, and emotional support throughout the change process.
Establish Routines: Consistent routines help toddlers feel secure, and they do the same for employees. Establishing predictable processes can reduce anxiety and resistance.

Encourage Independence
Giving toddlers the autonomy to try things independently builds confidence. Similarly, empowering employees to take ownership of their roles and contributions can foster a sense of responsibility and engagement.
These are some lessons I drew parallels with training the kid to use the toilet.
No one likes change, not when you have become comfortable and compliant in your daily routine. However, as technology evolves, so does the need for change, and with a proper change management strategy in place, technology can succeed in being adopted.
This Tuesday, the adoption rate was 75%, meaning we successfully used the toilet three out of four times. This demonstrates the effectiveness of our approach and the progress we're making.

TLDR using generative AI:

Trying to potty-train my toddler taught me valuable lessons in change management, like celebrating small wins, providing clear instructions, and being prepared for setbacks. Like toilet training, change takes time and patience, but progress can be made with the right approach—even if it's not always a perfect success!



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