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Take a shower, and understand the impact of change

By Claire O’Rourke, published April 22, 2013

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Rating: 4.0/5 (7 votes cast)

Take a shower. Take it today or tomorrow but take it soon.

Why? Because Business Analysts are influencers of change, but being human we sometimes can’t grasp the impact of that change on others.

So how does taking a shower help you understand change impact? Here’s the trick…change your routine and you will give your perceptions a scrub up. An example: if you normally apply some cleaning activity to the scalp as a first step, start instead by cleaning out the toe fluff. Try your new routine for one day and then try to maintain that change for a week.

  • How did you feel on Day 1? Frustrated? Angry? Disorientated? (please don’t slip)

  • Did it slow down your shower?

  • Did you question the logic of the new order?

  • Could you maintain your new routine for a week? (or did you discard it or forget the next day?)

Each time Business Analysts introduce change there is a good chance those impacted will feel a bit like you did in changing your shower routine. In your case you chose to do it to yourself – many of those impacted by changes, we are involved with, did not have a choice.

I know that change is not often (hopefully) a bad thing, but it still has an impact. I just want you to keep this in mind, and keep you showering :-).

This change impact reminder “technique” was passed on to me by Rob Thomsett. It may not be new to you, but it works, so pass it forward to your team. Even consider passing it on to those the change is impacting – I’ve seen it help them understand their own reactions to change (just make it very clear WHY you’re asking them to shower of course!).

And, without too many personal details, I’d be curious to hear your reaction to having undertaken this change.

Take a shower, and understand the impact of change, 4.0 out of 5 based on 7 ratings


Dan Tasker May 29, 2013 at 12:25 PM

Claire – thanks, and to Rob also for this very practical example of ‘experiencing’ a change. We all believe processes can be improved, but that improvement most often involves a logical pain point rather than physical pain point (e.g. cost, quality). Logically it’s hard to argue that replacing a seven step process with a three step process would not be an improvement. But as with your shower example, people performing those seven steps are used to it, with little or no thinking necessary. But asked to perform three [new] steps requires conscious thinking. In other words MORE work than before. Long term certainly there are benefits, but short term, during the critical initial go-live stage, people are out of their comfort zone.

Claire O'Rourke May 31, 2013 at 9:24 AM

Dan, thanks for the comment… and yes there is that whole tie in with conscious/ unconscious proficiency that folks go through over time after a change has come in. Then cap that with bad memories lingering and some change just has adverse impact on the people.
For me it means that if we can let people know the reason for change being the way it is, warn there may be discomfit , and support is there, and time will bring benefits and adjustment… just for those situations where we can’t get the perfect usable change in of course 🙂

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