Red-Tape-Tower-CPAC-2013

Polarizing

At CPAC 2013, Sen. Mitch McConnell rolled out a 7-foot, 3-inch stack of paper wrapped in a red ribbon. This stack purports to contain the 20,000 pages of regulations created to flesh out the Affordable Care Act of 2010 (“Obamacare”). Regardless of your politics, you have to admit the Red Tape Tower makes an impression.

Disruption

We all have a mental model of what the future holds. This model is based on our experiences, our assumptions, and our expectations. Depending on our personality and circumstances, we may be more or less conscious of this model.

Change introduces uncertainty about the future. It disrupts our mental model, like a careless child bumping a chessboard.

Bypassing the Water Cooler: Communicating in Times of Change

When major changes are announced in an organization, an interesting dynamic develops:
Employees have a greater than usual need for information.
Leaders tend to more strictly control the flow of information.

In times of uncertainty, employees increase their sensitivity to any signals present, frequently misinterpreting whatever facts are available and filling the information gap with bizarre scenarios they have generated. Rumors, half-truths, and well-intentioned guesses end up dominating the talk around the water cooler.