Thursday, August 31, 2006

Law Firm Partners, Change, and the Internet

Fair warning; if you do not like psychological insights, touchy-feely conversations, move on now. For whatever reason I do not know how to express my experiences about change without involving human emotion.

I lost my internet connection this week. From late Monday evening until tonight; no internet. The cable company was very responsive (TimeWarner) and had a technician crawling all over the next day trying to figure it out. Eventually he determined the problem was at the "hub", which was outside of his jurisdiction. He had to call engineering and they would send a crew out to look at the hub located somewhere nearby... but not here.

The engineering crew came, looked (as I understand from customer service) but could not fix it at that moment. I made calls to check on things but had absolutely no control over the when or how. Especially since they were working on a piece of equipment in a place that was not here. I couldn't even see that they were trying! So three days later... I arrive at home and all the right lights are blinking on my cable modem. They did what they said they would do. Yes!

During the process though was I ever bugged out. The internet has been a part of my routine since 1986 when I registered with Compuserve. I have not had an interruption in access to the internet since I don't know when (unless by choice). To say that I felt the world around me was changing in unlivable ways is an understatement.... Hmmm, I wonder what it feels like when a partner at a law firm does not have access to everything just as it has always been.

The act of "change" is never a simple logical process no matter how brief it is or how large the reward. Change digs at fear, uncertainty, guilt, self-esteem, and loneliness. It can evoke feelings of anger, sadness, guilt and shame. ANY human being feeling any of those things WILL respond protectively.

My lesson: Don't ever forget that as an agent of change I am putting people in the path of emotional unbalance. Remember that I must plan for the emotional journey as well as the strategic one.