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Michael Ryan

November 11, 2011 in Change Management, Transformational Change

The Longest Night

This is a tweet made last week by one of a group of six volunteers who emerged from a capsule after undertaking a 520 day, “Mission to Mars.

“The longest night in the world is about to finish. Amazingly intense and VERY surreal hours: packing, sending data, stowing experiments, preparing to enter the most alien of worlds.”

In reality, their ‘voyage’ was just a simulation of some of the conditions that the crew of a spaceship would face travelling to the Red Planet, and they had not travelled beyond the Russian suburb that played host to the experiment.

While the experiment could not replicate all of the conditions, such as weightlessness or the effects of radiation; it did give the participants in insight into some of the mental effects that they would be likely to encounter.

They experienced the isolation of being trapped and the frustrations of delays or breakdown of communication with ‘ground control’.  They even tried to imagine what it would be like to land on Mars, albeit in a pit of red sand.

Making a change often has dramatic impacts on people, process and technology, yet when IT is involved the focus often stays firmly placed on two points on this triangle.  And unfortunately, it is only at the zero hour that the impact on people enters the spotlight.

Meanwhile, for some, the journey up to the point that they reach the new world can seem like “the longest night in the world”.   This might be the people driving the change who are not fully sure what the immediate impact will be.  Or, it is the recipients of the change who have heard stories about the alien world and are nervous about how it will affect their lives.  Furthermore, the change may not be immediate and delays can take place as people get used to their new surroundings.

So, as you invest in the development of new technology to reach the new world, how do you make sure that your crew are ready to make the journey with you?

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