Our Christmas puzzle this year was a doozy. A lovely ‘traditional’ snowy village scene with Christmas trees, lights, and sleds. It looked lovely on the box. But it was hard. The image was blurry to convene a photo being taken as it snows, which made the grouping of pieces tough. And then we started it in a room which had poor puzzle lighting in the evenings. Poor lighting and fuzzy or blurry images are not a helpful combination for puzzling.
After sliding it under a sofa for a day of visitors, we put it on the kitchen table, where light is in abundance. One evening and a few hours of concerted and group effort later, the last two pieces were ceremoniously added by our two kids. Smiles all around.
Challenges are often like this. It is not one thing by itself that makes the issue a challenge, but rather the combination of things. The puzzle’s blurry nature was tough, but it, combined with the lighting and the time of day we like to do puzzles made things difficult. Once we moved it into the kitchen where evening puzzling was possible, our success rate increased. The lighting was good. The location for those ‘oh I’ll do just one piece (which never is just one piece)’ moments increased. And the ability to see better at night, all combined for our success. The blurriness of the image was still a challenge, but one that was surmountable when other issues were removed (or at least improved).
As we work on change projects – within groups, organisations, or ourselves – perhaps it is helpful to consider what are the various factors contributing to making the change more challenging? It’s never just one thing because changes in groups, organisations, and ourselves do not happen in a vaccuum. And maybe, just maybe, if we improve the ‘factors’ around the change, we create the ‘space’ in which the change itself becomes much more possible.