Change takes time. And most of the time its not that easy.
I remember wanting to give up smoking for a long time before I actually managed to do it.
I would wonder why I was doing it every time I would light up. I would get annoyed with the horrible cough every morning when I woke up or when ever I did anything physical. I would be frustrated at how much it was costing and the other things I could be spending that money on. And I would worry about the bad example I was setting my kids. But I would still keep doing it.
Then after thinking about it for a long time one day I woke up and said no more. And I haven’t smoked again.
Now some people would argue smoking is an addiction. I would argue it is a habit. And habits form over time until they become the way we do things – they become normal. And that’s what makes them all the more difficult to break or change.
So for me when I think about trying to change something I think about whats become the ‘normal’ or the ‘habit’.
I think this same idea applies to organisations too. We all know that old saying ‘but that’s the way its always been done.’
To me that highlights a habit in an organisation and if we want to make change that maybe a good place to start.
This is why I am really excited about the council’s new consultation caravan. To me this is a great shift away from how things have always been done. Its a move away from relying on the public to take the initiative to become part of the submission process and instead takes the council out to the community. This needs to become our new habit, our new normal.
Of course there are other things that need to be done too – we also have to take seriously the feedback we receive and weigh up the pros and cons of all the options when making our decisions as part of that process.
But I think the first outing of the caravan to the dog park where council staff talked to people about the dog control bylaws was a great first step. Comments from the public there highlighted how impressed they were that the council was coming out to see them.
This caravan is going to start a great new habit for the council and I am sure this is only the beginning!