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That’s Not How You Throw The Frisbee!

Written by Ryan Frank, Senior IT/Business Analyst

It was a beautiful sunny day with a soft breeze blowing through the trees. I’d just finished work and thought it would be fun to get out in the yard to play Frisbee with my oldest boy Easton (4 years old).

Easton had never learned the proper way of throwing a Frisbee, and was throwing it like a baseball. To say the least, it wasn’t going very far. I wanted Easton to enjoy throwing, so I tried to teach him the correct way to throw a Frisbee, which is how I do it. To my surprise, my strong-willed son didn’t want to throw the way I was teaching him. Instead, he wanted to do what he thought was the best way to throw it….even though it wasn’t working.

Father and son’s temperatures began to rise because neither of us wanted to change.

Instead of focusing on who threw the Frisbee the right “way”, I tried to focus on our goal (I’m not always this patient – so don’t give me too much credit). The goal was that we were enjoying an activity together. After I focused on the goal at hand, I remembered a recent time that I was at a Frisbee-golf course. There were some “professionals” (as I call them) who would throw the exact same way that Easton was throwing the Frisbee.

As a result I thought I’d try to see if my boy could learn to throw a Frisbee like the “professionals”. We got a little closer and practiced small throws until he understood the concept of the Frisbee needing to be thrown flat so that it can hover in the air. After about an hour, he was able to throw me the Frisbee 5 feet away, then 10 feet away, and we continued until I was halfway across the yard. He was so happy, and we had a lot of fun that day!

Do you ever encounter rising temperatures with your prospects, clients, or colleagues while dealing with change? I did while rolling out Salesforce (a new CRM solution) here at First Business, and I tried to use these same principles.

Many times I found that everybody agreed on the goals at hand; however, the frustration arose when talking about the “way” that we were trying to accomplish the goal. I tried to step back, focus on the goal at hand, and see if we could reach our goals using the new methodology. If the only real difference between the two methods was the person who concocted the idea – then I changed the process.

The positive affect of this approach, is that the individuals take ownership of the new methodology, feel that they are in control of the change, and will move forward positively. The difficult part about this process is that I needed to be humble enough to change what I had prepared/developed, even though I was the “expert” (maybe this is easier for others, but it’s easier said than done).

Lastly, I needed to be patient enough to train individuals until they could use Salesforce 5 feet away, 10 feet away, and then until they could use it across the yard (metaphorically speaking here….and we still have some people at the 5 and 10 feet away mark 5 months later – which is okay and I will continue to work with them).

If you encounter “temperature rises”, when you are asking your prospects, clients, and/or colleagues to change, I recommend following these steps:

  1. Do both parties agree on the goal?
  2. Have you asked how they recommend reaching the goal?
  3. Is the only real difference the person who created the idea?
  4. Are you humble enough to change your method of thinking – even though you are the expert?
  5. Are you patient enough to practice with them until they can throw 5 feet, 10 feet, and then across the yard?

Similar to that afternoon with my 4-year-old son, you can modify the outcome of change. Frustration can be converted to success as both parties understand and choose to work towards goals that are focused on the end result – to throw the Frisbee across the yard.

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