Are you trying to change too much in your organization? Do you have the feeling that you are going to snap? I often use the metaphor of the rubber-band to explain to change-agent how to pace themselves.

Change agent pulling the organization toward a potential future

As a change agent, I am on the one hand holding on to reality, while I project the other hand, far into potential futures. Then I try to pull the organization toward one of those new states, or better yet, guide toward that future. I act like a rubber band connecting those two points. And like a rubber band, if I reach too far, I will snap. If I spend too long in this stretched-out position, I will harden, I will become inflexible and I will then be unable to the real state of the system.

So don’t stretch too far, and never for too long. Oscillate instead: stretch out and relax to let the organization move or catch up.

Do not underestimate the inertia of organizations, it will move, thanks to your pulling, but it takes time! And during that time, you pulling further won’t help. Relax instead. And test your limits, and those of the organization, to never stretch too far. Otherwise, depression or even burnout await, you wouldn't want to snap!

To be a sustainable and effective change agent, be like a rubber-band!

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash