Category Archives: Musing on Change

Change – In the Middle

Change is often hard…especially when the change is about something you’ve been doing for a long time. If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Clean your plate. Flush the toilet. Sense a pattern?

We
all have behaviors planted firmly in our hearts and minds, reinforced
over and over by years of doing. We do these things without one moments
thought – they are habits. Whole systems are built around them. Public
restrooms for example. For years, architects and builders counted on
the fact that you would hear your mother’s voice before you exited the
stall, reminding you to flush! Worked well, mostly.

Then along
came change. Automatically flushed toilets. A novelty at first.
(Honestly, they scared the you-know-what out of people the first time
they encountered one. My favorite is when they flush before you’re
done.) But of course, they weren’t everywhere so we continued
responsible flushing. But as Malcolm Gladwell taught us, there is a
tipping point.

Finally there were more automatic flush toilets
in public places than the old-fashioned do-it-yourself variety and our
habits started to change. Mom’s voice was silenced. We expected the
flushing to occur without our active participation.Toilet_sign

Hence the
sign I discovered on the stall door in the public restrooms in the
Greenheck Field House in Weston, WI. After trying to figure out why it
was there,
it dawned on me. The Greenheck Field House, although fairly new, was
built before automatic toilets became the norm and is now frequented by
people who no longer believe they have an obligation to flush. Problem!
Some clever person must have decided that this sign would fill the
place vacated by a mother’s voice saying, "Don’t forget to flush,
dear." At least the day I was there the sign seemed to be working.

What I’m working on now is the equivalent for changing that clean your plate message.

On
another note, this blog would not have been possible without another
big change – phones you carry with you and have cameras built in. If
you write a blog that is tied to pictures, more important than American
Express, you never want to leave home without your Treo!