An experience at court the other day gave me the idea for this post about change and how we deal with it.
We have been mediating at court in the same conference room for about three years now. Last week, I arrived to find that another group had vacated the room but left a projector at the end of the long table where I usually sit. The rule at the court is that you don’t touch any of the equipment … someone from the IT Department has to do that. So, with less than 30 minutes before the mediation was supposed to start, we called IT.
And you guessed it … they didn’t arrive.
So, I went to the front desk to see if they could be called again. And that’s when the wonderful lady, who would take care of that for me, looked up and said “Why don’t you just sit at the other end of the table?”
And my very first reaction, which I kept to myself, was “I don’t want to sit at the other end of the table.”
I immediately reflected on that thought and realized that it would be unfamiliar and probably a tad uncomfortable. And it had created a little feeling of conflict for me.
So, I decided to reply “I’d be happy to use the other end of the table” and give it a try.
The room looked really different from that vantage point. And right away, I missed the clock that was on the wall behind me but I worked that out by laying my watch on the table.
And then I observed the reaction of the other people as they entered the room, because many of them had mediated there before and were also taken aback by the new room configuration. There were lots of comments, but everyone settled in to their new seats.
And guess what? The mediation went off without a hitch and everything was just fine.
But this little experience made me even more aware of how important it is to embrace change – because it will be happening often as the years go by. And accepting it might help to reduce the sense of conflict that it creates.