A Change of Scenery

When I go to the movies with my husband, we usually sit in the same general area. When I go to the theatre, I like to sit in the orchestra section if possible. When I go to my yoga class each week, I like to find the same spot in the room. When I can’t be in my usual spot, it seems to throw off my practice for the evening.

We are such creatures of habit. We drive the same routes to the same destinations. We walk through the same or similar routine each day. And we sometimes encounter the dreaded phrase at work, “We’ve always done it that way.”

I recently went to a play at the Kennedy Center. I wasn’t able to get seats in the orchestra section. Rather, we sat in the first tier balcony. It was a wonderful view -- and quite a different experience! Looking down onto the production was like looking at a panorama rather than my usual experience of looking up and back and forth throughout the performance. One of my companions that evening noted that he’d been to the Kennedy Center several weeks earlier to see a musical and sitting in the orchestra he could only see the dancers’ legs!

A change of scenery gives you a whole different perspective. It’s like seeing things through a whole new set of lenses. It not only opens your eyes, but your mind and your viewpoint (or opinion) as well. I realized I was not only seeing differently, but hearing and listening differently as well.

Barbara and I recently met with an HR team from a local company over lunch at a restaurant. There was a room reserved for the group – between 16 to 18 individuals in all – so we were able to talk around the table without disturbing or being disturbed by others. It was an opportunity for them to talk about HR issues with two colleagues outside their organization – an opportunity to hear things from different perspectives. How wonderful for them to work for a company that allows them some time out to change scenery, hear some different points of view, or maybe lend credibility to theirs. I left that meeting – which lasted about two hours – feeling totally energized. I’m sure they felt the same!

HR leaders often have to guide change within an organization. Often that change comes from within. Often it comes from outside. To be effective change agents, its important for any leader to maintain flexibility in attitudes, perspective and approach. It’s critical to network outside your organization and be in tune with trends – trends in your area of expertise, in the marketplace, in your industry. It’s important to listen to expert opinions and to opposing points of view. It’s important to have a change of scenery – both within and outside your organization.

So get moving. Drive to work using a different route. Get out from behind your desk and go to lunch – someplace new with someone different. Walk down the hall and have a conversation. And the next time you go to the movies, sit someplace different!


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