Smooth water

Everything moves better in smooth water. Engineers spend a lot of time and energy to avoid cavitation, the often dangerous bubbles that are caused by pumps or propellers. And sailors and surfers prefer to do their thing without excess chop.

As we apply pressure to an organization, the same thing happens. At first, people engage with change as an opportunity, doing their best work in the face of small shifts. But once fear sets in, so does cavitation. The cavitation, the bubbling, the uncertainty, the expansion and collapse of bubbles of doubt and disagreement—this becomes the primary problem, more than the fear that originally caused the issue.

The challenge is to avoid this before it happens. To insert pressure relief valves, smooth out the bends, and give the energy a place to go.

The stories we tell each other will lead to the actions we take.