Introduction

Last Christmas we had (as a lot of other companies as well) a Christmas party. Usually our Christmas events are splitted into 3 parts:

  • Team-Event
  • Retrospective on the current year
  • Food, Drinks and Socialising

We had a lot of thoughts about the first point and decided to take everybody to Bottrop (Indoor-Skydiving) to go flying! Flying, really? Yep, it is an indoor hall with a very big ventilator blowing you up at 200 km/h!

So, why am I writing about this? It’s about change, but let me first give you a short abstract of the introduction points we were introduced before the flight.

How to skydive

Before the first flight our group was assembled in a small room and our instructor started the briefing. The first thing he mentioned was that you usually tend to be very cramped. „Don’t do it, relax, let the wind do its job!“, he mentioned.

If you must move or do correction, move in slow-motion. The slightest move will change your position in the air. „From time to time, I will give you a sign to correct your legs or arms. If I do so, do it calm and slowly until I give you the ok sign.“ Sounds easy, right?

So, into the tube and here we go. You step to the door, lie on the wind and don’t try to move… so far so good. Then the first wind hits you, your body is shaked and you start struggling. Your rational remembers you to move slowly but your muscles already try to correct… with fast moves.

Guess what happens? You are not lying there on the wind, relaxing, you are close to panic not to get to the wall!

Watch the video to get clue:

Then the instructor jumps in, stabilise you, calms you down, and remembers you to smile. After 30 seconds you get the first success, while calming down and forcing yourself to do slow moves, you stabilise more and more. By just moving your head very slowly down you move up and by moving your head slowly up again you move down again. By just turning your right hand very slowly you circle to the right, that was amazing! The moves were about millimeters!

Reflection

Over the weekend I reflected what I learned during those minutes and transferred those learnings to coaching and change. Because there are a lot of parallels:

  • You need to change often only very small things to correct your path
  • Hard and quick moves are often contra-productive
  • Control your change, reflect, and iterate
  • Impact from the outside can help, but you need to experience the change by yourself

In my coaching I often see comparable situations. Leaders often want changes quickly. But even if they know one possible answer it is on others to execute these. Those people often have not made the same experiences or see other options, so they have to try it.
If you feel things are not moving that fast or you start struggling, relax! Stabilise your position, reflect about the things you have done before. Try to repeat things slowly until you learned about the correct moves that get you to your goal.
Also it proofed to me that there are no blueprints for complex situation. Because of everbody being different you always need to find your stable position. Then hold this before doing the next move. Very small iterations of the PDCA cycle, see it?

Honestly, I really think about bringing my coachees to this experience because the benefit by experiencing it is worth more than thousands of trainings and sessions!