Are you a parent with school aged children? If so, I am going to guess that you can relate to me when I say, “Elementary school car pick up is the worst!” It is so bad that every day I leave work an hour early so that I can attempt to be the first person in the pick up line; sometimes, not even that is enough. Recently, the school faculty has been trying to improve the situation though it seems to me that their attempts are only making it worse.
The first week, they moved the location where the kids stand to wait for their cars. However, the location is behind a curve and the faculty stand in front of them blocking their ability to see when their ride has arrived. Day two, the staff realized that now that the kids are on the curve they need a staff member down the sidewalk to holler whose parents are in line and which kids to send down. They enlisted a staff member however this person was brand new to car pick up and didn’t know which parent and car went with what kid. They now had to knock on every passenger window asking who they were picking up.
Day three, a staff member came to the parking lot before school released and asked everyone to write the names of their kids on a big orange sign and place it in their window every day. In my opinion, it seemed unrealistic that parents would permanently keep the sign in their window. They handed out signs for several days but didn’t hold parents accountable and the initiative died. Meanwhile the staff also realized that yelling at each other across a sea of kids regarding which parents were in line was not working either thus they got walkie talkies. Now, their attention went from focusing on the kids to trying to understand each other over the static. They also added an A-Frame sign in the center of the sidewalk that says, “This is not a crosswalk” though there are faded but still legible painted lines on the ground that indicate it is.
The point of this blog is not to criticize their attempt to create change but point out the process in which they are using. Change, big or small is not easy for most people; especially not adults. What I have observed through this process are opportunities for growth that could help them be more successful.
First, when we are desiring to create change we need to bring all the right parties to the table. In this case I have to wonder if they ever considered consulting some of the parents for possible solutions? They are the ones that are battling this challenge every day. To me, they seem like obvious players to consider when creating a solution.
Secondly, I am not convinced they thoroughly thought through all the steps to create the change they wanted nor did they identify what problem they were trying to solve. In this case they were making lots of changes, but to what end? Are they concerned about speed, efficiency, safety, traffic flow? Each of these problems are likely to have different solutions. Starting with the big picture helps to identify a starting point and in this case, they tried to change too many things, too fast and nobody could keep up.
Thirdly, we have to give people enough time to adapt to change. One thing I know about change, especially when working with adults, is that it rarely comes quickly. People need to understand why it is happening, what their role and impact is and they need a lot of accountability. New habits take months, sometimes even years; not days or even weeks.
If you have come face to face with a change initiative that you are trying to roll out, I would love to chat with you. Many people unknowingly underestimate the amount of time, thoughtfulness, strategy, planning, communication, training and accountability that is required to successfully implement a positive change. I plan on having a conversation with the school to see if they are interested in collaborating. If you want to talk about what it takes to create a plan for change that is pain free for you but most of all, easy for those that it impacts the most. Click below to set up an initial consultation. Set up an Initial Consultation