People often love to change if they are part of the planning

As children do, my brothers and I looked forward to summer vacation. Although the warm weather brought with it farm work such as planting, hoeing, and putting up hay, there were a multitude of pleasures also.

We had plenty of time to re-enact the Civil War, explore the perimeter of our property, and play with the boys of Malaga. When my younger brother, Jack, and I got particularly ambitious, we set out the four miles for Monroe Lake with fishing poles and buckets slung across the handle bars of our bicycles.

The lake seemed like an ocean to us and we walked for hours trying out various attractive spots to cast our nightcrawlers. If we happened to snag a sizable fish, it would be deposited into one of our plastic buckets half full of water.

On days with slim results, we tired of the traditional fishing and headed for the spillway. There we found clear pools of water swarming with fish 10 to 12 inches long. Bass, bluegills, and other species congregated in these pools. We guessed that in high water, our captives had been washed over the spillway and trapped in these pools.

We took off our shoes and socks and herded the fish under a ledge of sandstone. It was easy to trap fish one after another with our hands. Soon our buckets were at capacity or darkness approached and it was time to head home with our prize.

The exhausting trip back required frequent stops for rest. We developed a special balance to successfully carry a five-gallon bucket on one handle and a tackle box on another. Sometimes we were lucky and a neighbor offered us a ride in a pickup truck. We loaded bicycles and fish in the truck bed and were home in a flash.

Once home, we carried the heavy buckets through the pasture field and down the hill to our small pond and dumped our friends into their new home. Now we could catch them over and over again as long as we were gentle with the dehooking.

We swore to each other that this would be the last of these laborious trips but within a few weeks the vision of pain faded and excitement of fish filled our thoughts and off we went again.

We did not know it at the time but even in child’s play we were developing creativity, persistence, and planning for the future. These characteristics served us well in later years. Especially in our youth, we learn from everything we do. As adults we are still learning every day. However, our experiences can give us tunnel vision and make us less open to applying learnings to change the way we do our work. Leaders can grow their employees’ ability to adapt to change with creativity, persistence and future planning through facilitated dialogue and brainstorming. People often love to change if they are part of the planning, but they resist when leaders force it upon them.

R. Glenn Ray, Ph.D., is the president of RayCom Learning. To learn more about Ray’s completely revised, third printing of “The Facilitative Leader: Behaviors that Enable Success,” visit his Web site, www.raycomlearning.com or call him at 740-629-4536. Everyday Leadership appears each Wednesday on the Business page.

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