When you ask a Physicist about how atoms work he or she may well begin with Schrödinger’s Equation (see inset). Though this is the ‘ABC’ of atomic physics it will cause most people to become instantly confused and wish they’d never asked the question in the first place. But in the world of the Physicist everyone is familiar with Schrödinger’s Equation and it is hard to imagine not understanding this fundamental theory.
At work, the people that instigate change, whether they are company executives or Project Managers, spend days, weeks or months thinking about the ins and outs of their initiative, strategizing and planning every detail. So much so that they become like the Physicist, unaware that the rest of us are struggling with the very first question that occurs to us when we first learn about a change; ‘why?’ The executive or Project Manager have been mentally inhabiting a world where the change has already taken place and the benefits are self-evident. They no longer feel the need to explain everything that has led them (over days, weeks or months) to conclude that things must change.
But if people don’t experience the same process of understanding the ‘why?’ they will fall at the first hurdle. They cannot mentally progress to subsequent hurdles (asking what? how? who? and when?) and the change will fail. The art is in compressing days, weeks or months of thought and conclusions into a 30 minute thought process.