Change Management

A small epiphany from the exceptionally mundane.

When washing dishes my feet are idle but my mind is wandering. This morning I wandered into thoughts of sponge production costs and change management.

I’ve been buying a certain national brand of sponge for years now (I cook a lot–therefore I wash a lot of dishes). But there’s something different about the last batch of sponges I bought. This difference I noticed immediately on my first use of the new sponge some days ago. As my fingers assimilated the new texture, I felt small flutterings of disappointment, fear, panic. Something has changed! The sponge is different!

Which leads me to a certain realization:

Familiarity is comforting. Monotony may be dull, numbing, but also comforting. Settle into a comfortable routine. Pull on a familiar pair of jeans. Etc.

So, unexpectedly change something on someone, and you’re ripping away their security blanket–suddenly and frighteningly your victim cold, exposed, surprised. You’re going to get a negative reaction. 100% of the time.

And yet, when properly managed, change can create just the opposite sensations: a positive anxiety born of anticipation, eagerness.

Imagine how my own reaction to the mundane matter at hand had only the sponge’s cellophane packaging announced a “new and improved texture! Now softer and more supple for better bubbles and cleaner dishes!” I might instead have found pleasure, delight in the new sponge, noticed its softer, more supple texture, rather than its less substantial feel in the hand.

The life lesson from a sponge? Never let change you’re creating catch someone unawares. A surprise change invokes fight or flight. An anticipated change creates earnest expectation.

About Mark Egge

Transportation planner-adjacent data scientist by day. YIMBY Shoupista on a bicycle by night. Bozeman, MT. All opinions expressed here are my own.
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