I'm edging my way back into blogging sideways ....
One of the questions my father-in-law has begin to ask, "What's next?" We've all been talking to him about that and we discovered that he always wanted to learn the oboe! That's a hard instrument to learn -- particularly if you are in your 80's. Being a musician and wind player, I suggested taking up a recorder as a first step. So, last week kept my Internet search skills honed by trying to find recorder teachers in his area of Arizona.
After lots of googling boolean searches and email networking via the results, I came across a recorder group in Arizona and the contact person Linda Rising helped me out quite a bit. I clicked through to her web site and discovered that she also happens to be the author a change management book called "Fearless Change: Patterns for Introducing New Ideas." (Something I am researching for a current project ...) The title intrigued me. The book is a pattern analysis that identifies the recurring problems and corresponding successful solutions for introducing new ideas into organizations.
Here's a summary of the 48 patterns and solutions. While many are familiar, a few that I really liked were:
To increase your effectiveness in introducing your new idea, make a case for having the work part of your job description.
Guru on Your Side
Enlist the support of senior-level people who are esteemed by members of the organization.
In Your Space
Keep the new idea visible by placing reminders throughout your organization.
To ease learners into the more difficult concepts of a new idea, give a brief introduction and then make more information available when they are ready.
When the organization is not willing to commit to the new idea, suggest that they experiment with it for a short period and study the results.
Whisper in the General’s Ear
Managers are sometimes hard to convince in a group setting, so meet privately to address any concerns.
Poking around the author's home page, I found a paper she wrote entitled: Introducing Technology into the Workplace. The abstract is here:
Organizations in the knowledge business realize that their future depends on keeping their employees up to date on the latest technology. Some of us are trying to introduce new technology in our workplaces. Some efforts have been successful and some have not. The patterns described in this paper are the beginning of a pattern language for introducing new technology into the workplace. The contributors to this pattern language came from different organizations located all over the world. What they found when they examined their separate contributions was a close interrelationship between their experiences, which was reflected in the patterns they wrote.
As it turned out, there are no recorder teachers in my father-in-law's neck of the woods in Arizona. So, upon reflection, I decided to email some Oboe players and ask if they thought the oboe would be too physically demanding and frustrating for a 80 plus year old. The answer: It takes some demanding breath control, but he is physically fit (he is), he could do it. As luck would have it, the local high school band director studied oboe with the oboe player in a Arizona Symphony. I also got a crash course on where to rent or purchase an oboe and the various different models and prices. So, he's on his way to learning the oboe!