A boulder sitting at the top of the hill remains motionless. A group of us surround it beginning to heave, push, grunt, and slowly lift one side. Someone finds a few pieces of gravel to jam in the tiny space we’ve creating through our efforts so we can rest without loosing too much of our progress. We pause, high five each other for the progress we’ve made (even though it’s only an inch, sip water, and we go back to the boulder.
We repeat the process, moving from gravel to smaller rocks. The first 6-12 inches take what seems like forever. At times we even talk about giving up. But we don’t. And after a certain point, we make greater progress each grunting session.
And then it happens.
Gravity begins working with us and the boulder completes its first full rotation. We’ve talked about this moment for a long time so instead of standing back and watching, we all rush forward with the boulder pushing it to encourage the momentum, not wanting it to turn once and go back to resting.
Then turn two happens, then three, and it’s off down the hill spinning faster each rotation. We sit back, cheering, laughing, and watching.
Change projects are often like the boulder, especially large transformational ones. The beginning stage is painfully slowly and sometimes just painful. And sometimes we make the mistake of thinking our job is done after the first rotation and so things go back to ‘normal’. But once the momentum has begun, then it begins to turn itself and future turns become inevitable.
What stage are you at?
Photo by Joeri Römer