When Julie Andrews sang A Spoonful Of Sugar in the 1964 Disney movie Mary Poppins, she was teaching the children a good attitude will make any task easier. In this case, the children had to clean their room.
I grew up hearing the song but always thought the meaning different. My meaning derived from the next line: helps the medicine go down.
Medicine typically doesn’t taste good. The sugar was designed to take the edge off medicine’s yucky taste.
Any time we have a tough task in front of us, a tough pill to swallow, an unpleasant reality staring us smack in the face – a spoonful of sugar is always available to help us through.
Attitude obviously is critical. But something real and substantial can be the placebo necessary to get us moving. And with movement, our attitude will follow and turn from sour to sweet.
I always believed the spoonful of sugar was the motivator. Something real. Something that enabled a person to re-frame their attitude.
In the business world, we’re constantly challenged by change. How do we keep up with everything we’re supposed to be doing while embracing everything new at the same time?
People have developed a list of strategies to keep them motivated. Coffee breaks. A walk around the block. Turning off email for a few hours at a time. Working from home. Closing the office door. All of these tactics are in essence a spoonful of sugar.
When a major change initiative is launched within an organization, a more dramatic form of sugar is required. The bigger the change, the larger the spoon must be.
The spoonful of sugar must include:
- Straightforward communication from leadership
- A clear understanding of the why and how of the change
- An opportunity for meaningful dialogue
- The feeling of being heard
Major change initiatives are tough medicine. Medicine that is necessary. Medicine that most likely tastes yucky. Leadership doesn’t launch major change unless it’s important, urgent, and necessary.
Whenever a major change initiative is launched, a spoonful of sugar will help the medicine go down.
Steve Weber is the Change Ambassador. He works with organizations undergoing a radical change initiative. He becomes leadership’s voice and ears. He collects and collates the feedback leadership needs so they can acknowledge the people who have spoken. He helps people feel heard and listened to. He enables change to occur quickly and with minimal disruption. He is a spoonful of sugar.