Peek into the toy box of most kids and you’ll find cars, blocks or dolls. Look a little closer and you might discover that hiding inside the mild-mannered car is a powerful Transformer robot ready to save the world. With a few deft twists and turns, the same parts appear to make a new thing. It’s a cool trick, and might be the most important lesson we ever get.
Change is hard, and often made harder when we resist it. Do we stand our ground, defending what we have now, or can we bend, flex, and transform into something new, and hopefully better? I’d like to think I’m flexible with the ability to accept new perspectives, and ideas, but my body reminds me every morning, that flexibility isn’t a given. If I want to continue to be able to touch my toes, I’d better be practicing every day.
When some tasks are done regularly, I fall into a routine, a set way of doing things, because with consistency comes quality control and reliable results – all good things. When someone asks, “why do we do it this way?” I almost say, “because we’ve always done it this way” – but those words catch in my throat. How about, “because it works” but that sounds way too snarky. So I take a breath and start to reexamine a process as an outsider. Are the steps in the most efficient order, are all the steps useful, is the end product still needed?
Businesses often reorganize in search of a better way to achieve their goals. Moving people into new roles so they can question the status quo and find new ways to do things is part of the deal. We’re all challenged to shake the cobwebs out of what we’ve been doing, and learn new things. While rethinking what we do, my joints stretch and my tendons twang. I’m hoping that as I reorder all of my component parts, the end result will be a useful structure.
Start with a flat piece of paper and with a few well-made folds, and you have an origami crane. Normally you’d put that pretty crane on a shelf to admire. But I have to take it apart, smooth out the creases and fold it into another shape, and another, and another. Each time, the same sheet appears as something new that is a better reflection of what is needed.