A great way to step into a new change is to take it for a test drive.
A test drive, for purposes of this post, is defined as choosing one or more elements of the larger change to put into action, tweaking and adjusting until it becomes integrated into our lifestyle, through the formation of a new habit, routine or approach.
While the potential for rejection exists, the test drive offers such flexibility in adapting aspects of the change, the likelihood of flat-out rejection (aka completely dropping the change) is much less than if the full change is incorporated all at once.
Why? Well, because when we test drive a change, we look at each element separately, and if we find it isn’t working at first, we can make the necessary adjustments until it does work.
By doing this at a much more micro-level than when implementing a full-scale change all at once, we are better able to pinpoint potential problems and course correct before they become big and insurmountable.
Here are a few other benefits of the test drive approach:
What does a test drive look like?
Segment, prioritize and design.
1. Segment your change into smaller elements.
Elements are basically anything you can think of that you will need, do or arrange in order for your change to work.
For example, let’s say you are planning to pursue a Master’s degree while working full-time. Some of the elements involved with this change might include:
2. Prioritize these elements based on importance. Which do you believe are the most important to master in order to succeed with your change?
While time is a big theme in the elements listed for the example above, the potential for competing priorities might be the most important to get a grip on first, because those things could derail attempts at finding time to do the other elements, and could also significantly influence your energy level.
3. Know your preferred pace of change.
Are you a wader or a jumper when it comes to change? If you're not sure, take a look at the last post, which will help you figure it out.
Equipped with this information, you are ready to design your first test.
Sequential and batch test drives.
If you prefer a slower, more methodical pace of change, a sequential approach might work best for you; if you’re more of a life in the fast-lane sort of person, a batch approach may be more to your liking.
The sequential approach is just as the name implies; elements are introduced one at a time. Once one element has been tested and tweaked to your satisfaction, add the next one in your list.
The batch approach, on the other hand, incorporates multiple elements at once. This will make the change seem more real than the sequential approach, but will also result in more potential snags that require tweaking at around the same time.
The benefit of the batch approach is that you will also be able to see the interplay between the various elements. The sequential approach, on the other hand, offers the potential for greater greater depth and understanding of each element before adding another one.
Regardless of which approach you follow, the purpose of test driving is to take one or more elements of the larger change, and put it into action, as best as possible, in order to incorporate it into your lifestyle.
Doing this will likely require adjustments to that lifestyle, and making these adjustments on a smaller scale allow you to get used to some parts of the change before adding more.
Adapt and evolve.
Two key principles to keep in the headlights of your test drive, are that once you’ve incorporated one or more elements, it’s all about adapting and evolving.
Adaptive Action, is an approach created by Glenda Eoyang and Royce Holladay of the Human Systems Dynamics Institute as a way to quickly adapt to change. The approach utilizes three primary questions: What? So What? And Now What?
With these questions at the dashboard of your test drive, you can quickly identify what is at issue, why it matters, and pinpoint strategies for moving forward.Click here to learn more about this approach.
It's easy to become stuck even when implementing the smallest change. And when we get stuck, it’s easy to justify giving up.
But when we give up, we fail to move beyond the issues at hand, and they are likely to plague us until we’ve learned how to travel past them. To do this, we must evolve.
That’s where spiral thinking comes into play. This is the topic of of previous post but in short, it means that even low points and challenges offer us opportunities to learn and progress. By recognizing that change is not a linear, uphill process, we are better equipped to handle not just the easy and fun stuff, but also the roadblocks and barriers that can often derail a change.
Having a mindset geared towards adaptability and flexibility, with additional performance enhancing measures such as an adventurer’s perspective and a curious, design approach to change, we are much better equipped to fully step into it.
Next up in our series of How To Step Fully Into Change…Prioritizing Our Change.
About the Author
Megan Rounds, Ed.D. is owner and principle perculator of perculcha, llc.
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