Change Management Lessons from a Family Road Trip.


Recently my wife and I took our two young children on their first extended road trip to spend some time with family on a mini vacation. Naturally, the thought of driving across multiple states while attempting to keep a baby and a toddler entertained caused me some angst. Images of frequent pit stops and endless baby melt downs popped up in my head and caused me to start second guessing our decision to embark upon this adventure.

Nevertheless we packed up, rolled out and returned home safe and sound after adding some miles to the family SUV, stopping a few times for diaper changes and food, enduring a couple of expected melt downs, and thoroughly enjoying our family time together.

As I reflected upon our vacation preparations and travel experiences, three key takeaways stood out to me as useful advice that can be applied to any personal or professional change initiative:

  • A positive mindset is key to success.
  • Patience is necessary.
  • The Journey is just as important as The Destination.
, Change Management Lessons from a Family Road Trip.

A positive mindset is key to success. Earlier in this article I mentioned my apprehension on the eve of our trip, as I mentally prepared for the baby melt downs. frequent stops and reckless drivers on our long journey. However, instead of focusing on the challenges of the drive, I decided to focus on the actual purpose of the road trip – to have fun and spend quality family time. Once I shifted my focus, I began to feel more enthusiastic about our road trip.

I passed the driving time chatting with my wife and kids and listening to some top 100 yacht rock countdown on a satellite radio station, while practicing safe driving all the way to our destination and back home again.

Similarly, a positive outlook increases the probability of a successful outcome when faced with the prospect of navigating professional or personal life changes. Instead of focusing on the long and arduous process to realize desired change, we should focus instead on why the change is even necessary in the first place, and what success looks like at the end of the journey.

A positive mindset provides the momentum to keep moving forward, even when the journey becomes difficult and doubt starts to set in. Focusing on the desired outcome will provide us with the determination to continue progressing one step at a time, until the change is achieved.

, Change Management Lessons from a Family Road Trip.

Patience is necessary. As a parent I developed significant levels of patience that I never knew existed within me, and it certainly took patience to endure the melt downs and seat kicking antics on our road trip.

Patience is also needed when driving long distances, as the hours go by slowly and the hands begin cramping from constantly gripping the steering wheel.

When managing the process of change, the journey may seem never ending and unforgiving. For example, a career change may require years of studying and practice to develop new skills or attain certifications that confirm your qualifications.

Patience is indeed a virtue that should be practiced and maintained throughout any change journey. Challenges and set backs will occur with any change event in life, however the patience to endure and persevere to the end will make the difference between success and failure.

, Change Management Lessons from a Family Road Trip.

The Journey is just as important as The Destination. During our road trip my wife and I found ourselves admiring the rural landscape and beautiful mountainous terrain of the Midwest states. We engaged in conversations around numerous topics, and we also entertained our two year old when he was not focused on the Sesame Street DVD playing on the SUV’s headrest screen.

The journey to and from our destination was an opportunity for us to really appreciate our time together as a family, and to build memories that we can look back on with fondness.

As we travel along any personal or professional change journey, we should take the time to review the milestones we have accomplished along the way. This self reflection helps to put things in perspective, and allows us to celebrate small incremental wins on our way to our big life achievements.

Once our expected change has been achieved, the experiences, challenges, and adjustments made during the transitional period will be both a lesson and a blueprint for future change successes. We should cherish the change journey, for this is where we will learn valuable lessons about ourselves and our change management capabilities.

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