Mike Hourigan, Your Change Management Speaker
Found: The Darkest Bulb in the Chandelier!
As a keynote speaker, I am honored speak to professional associations nationwide on the many challenges of managing change. One important aspect I talk about in regard to change is that the organizations that are most successful in navigating around challenges are those that give their people the permission to think.
Giving employees the go-ahead to think about how to work out problems of a changing culture, new technologies or other complications is allowing them to respond to a task rather than submitting to an ineffective knee-jerk reaction. Let me relate a real-life lesson on responding to change.
As we all know, there is no limit to light bulb jokes. It’s no surprise that a popular, somewhat polite way of saying that someone isn’t especially bright, is by describing them as not being “the brightest bulb in the chandelier.” However, I’ve recently learned that occasionally keeping the bulb as dark as possible is the best way to solve a lighting problem.
Not long ago, a client asked me to make a video on change management for their trade association. As many of my meeting planner friends understand, making a quality video under less than optimal conditions is tricky at best. Instead of looking professional, it can come out looking like one of those amateur cat videos on YouTube.
In this particular case, I was asked to make the video against a wall behind the stage at a major Las Vegas convention hotel. Not only was the wall made of glass, but there were four or five glaring chandeliers placed along the glass wall. We set up, then I asked the audiovisual assistant to please turn off the chandeliers.
“Oh, I can’t do that,” he said.
Now as this was a huge property, I asked the assistant to get the meeting manager. The manager walked in, looked at the problem and said, “I have no idea how to do it. No one has ever asked me to turn these lights off. I’ll have to call the engineer.”
It shouldn’t surprise you that neither “The Engineer,” complete with an impressive tool-belt, nor his assistant engineer in training were actually engineers; he did, however, have a spiffy work-shirt that said “Chuck.”
It is important that I mention that while all of this commotion was going on, a custodian was quietly observing the scene.
Anyway, Chuck and his assistant found a plywood panel off to the side of the wall and they ripped it open, emitting a cloud of dust and cobwebs and a spaghetti factory of wiring. After all, why have a tool-belt if you can’t make noise and dirt? As they were about to start doing heavy damage to the circuitry, the custodian meekly asked the crowd if he could try something.
We all shrugged. The custodian put on his work gloves, stood on a chair and gently unscrewed the light bulbs. The lighting was near perfect.
The custodian gave himself permission to respond to the needed change. It was a funny but powerful lesson as well. The assistant, manager, and two engineers all reacted to the challenge. The custodian thought it through.
When associations allow their constituency permission to think, to respond and then to solve the challenges of managing change, light bulb moments occur.
Mike Hourigan, Change Management Motivational Speaker
For more information on Mike Hourigan’s Change Management keynote speeches and break-out training sessions, call him today at: (704) 875-3030 or fill out the form below.