There are many things I love about the Please Touch Museum, Philadelphia’s children museum. One of my favorite activities is its End of the Day Parade, a daily tradition where staff members and colorful characters wander through the museum with instruments, encouraging children and their families to follow them. They march around the museum and eventually out the main door. This parade is an orderly process that allows the children and their families to end a day of play and learning in a fun way without tantrums, tears and resistance. It is brilliant!
I have always wondered if the End of the Day Parade would be effective in the workplace. Change and transitions are disconcerting for everyone – children and adults alike. HR executives are constantly focused on leading change management initiatives, attempting to determine approaches that may help the organization and its employees navigate through shifts in strategy, organizational redesigns, restructurings and adapting to new leaders. During times of change, many questions emerge, including:
What messages do we need to reinforce and how often do they need to be repeated?
- Are leaders clear on the direction they are going?
- Which employees or key talent need to be communicated with and how do you ensure their “buy-in” to the changes?
- How do we retain top talent under times of uncertainty?
- How do we coach managers and leaders to ensure consistent messages and themes are being stated?
- What obstacles will we face and how will we address them?
For leaders in the workplace, there are some parallels to the End of the Day Parade. Who are the leaders of the parade and how do we get others to follow and agree with the game plan? How do we engage and get employees involved?
There are many twists and turns along the parade route, as there are during an organization’s change process. Colleagues will follow a strong, confident leader. When we arrive at our destination, almost everyone is ready to move on with a more positive frame of mind.
Perhaps the tambourine and cymbals may be a bit too much in the workplace, but I still like the idea.