Change management can be difficult for organizations, leaders and individuals. For organizations and leaders it requires strong and well thought out plans and communication, the ability to react effectively to resistance and a huge dose of patience. For individuals it requires the ability to adapt and move quickly through the change cycle.
I love the following process/story for helping manage change.
In Africa natives use a creative way to catch monkeys. Using a coconut, they hollow out one end just big enough for the monkey’s fist to fit inside. After the hole is created they place a small orange inside. The natives then place the coconut along with other coconuts and wait for the monkey.
The smell of the different coconut attracts the monkey who then places its fist inside. The monkey then goes to pull its hand out, but it can’t while it is holding on to the orange. But the monkey won’t let go, it thinks it is stuck. The natives have a string attached to the coconut and are easily able to capture it at this point.
I have also heard you can do the same thing with bananas and a cage. Ensuring the bars to the cage are just large enough for the monkey to get its hand in, you place some bananas in the middle of the cage. Once the monkey reaches in and grabs the bananas it won’t let go and believes it is stuck. The hunter can then go to the cage and simply pick up the monkey.
The monkey thinks the problem is getting the orange or bananas out of the hole, but the real problem is the monkey is stuck and will soon be captured.
Likewise we can also get stuck holding on to old attitudes, negative talk and doing things the way we have always done them. These are often times the main issues most people have with moving through the process of change. They hold on to the bananas!
What oranges or bananas are you holding on to?
Here are three tips to help let go:
1. Look for the positive. Instead of only thinking that change is difficult and the general negative thoughts that accompany that outlook, look at change as an opportunity to start fresh, do better, open doors and improve. That type of attitude will bring positive things to those who believe it.
You can’t control anyone but you. So why not start with how you feel?
2. Accept coaching and feedback. There are times when you just can’t get outside the box enough to see what it is you can do better. The monkey holding on to the bananas certainly can’t. Getting others feedback and being humble enough to do something about it can set you free, literally.
3. Analyze your strengths and weaknesses. Set goals for improvement and development of your personal skills to equip you better for the change ahead. Be the person who is looking for opportunities to contribute, not looking for excuses to run or to do nothing.
Question: What do you do to help people let go of the bananas?
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