He awkwardly danced, occasionally blurting out “Puttin’ on the Ritz!” with a guttural scream. Mel Brooks created a classic with the movie “Young Frankenstein,” and Peter Boyle was unforgettable as the monster. Re-watching the clip below, it made me think about my job working with clients on change. The first thing people say is “you can’t change people – why have you made that your point of focus?”
To all of you who have said that to me, you’re absolutely right. You can’t change people. People can only choose to change themselves. However, you can change specific behaviors. For example, I can’t tell somebody that’s been in a service-only position for years that they are now a salesperson. What I can do is train them on a few sales skills, coach them each day until they succeed, and ultimately watch them accept the fact that sales is something they can do. I also have to accept the fact that some won’t be willing or able to make the change.
The truth is that during times of change, many leaders send out a few boring e-mails, put people through training that crams too much into two days, and then declare the people are “changed.” Well, they’re not. In fact many of them are miserable. Their jobs changed while they were sitting in them, and they don’t like what they do anymore.
If these people are ignored or forgotten then results, teamwork, and customers will ultimately suffer. Rude behavior ensues because these employees are scared to death – they can’t do their job well, and they don’t like what they do. Most of the people in this world want do a good job, but if that job doesn’t match their skills then there’s an emotional civil war that goes on in their hearts and heads every day. They feel like Frankenstein (prounced Fron’ ken’ steen) trying to tap dance.
Eventually, like Frankenstein, they’ll go through some kind of breakdown built on the frustration of feeling like a failure. They’ll leave their jobs, attack co-workers, or move into malicious compliance – smiling during meetings, undercutting the manager’s every effort when back on the job.
If your environment is changing, pay attention to those you are training. Ask yourself:
Clarity, skills, and coaching can all be addressed. However, if they are not motivated or capable, then you’ve got a tap-dancing Frankenstein on your hands. Their feet might be moving, but their mind and heart are disengaged. Pay attention – when job responsibilities change, not all of your employees will be “Puttin’ on the Ritz.” [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZ-aRwEbp5I[/youtube]