I arrived to class a bit early this morning with our teacher, Scott. He takes a look at the room, feels like the tables are a bit out of place, and we start to move them.
Not quite sure what to do with the last table, we start to explore a slightly more radical change in configuration that influenced some of the other tables. As my classmates started to roll in, I was surprised at the responses.
Let me back up for a moment. For the last three-odd weeks we have been used to sitting in clusters of 6-7 people. Imagine each unit: two tables side by side, the length at least twice the size of the width, where 8 people would sit comfortably if each place at the table was taken. This configuration creates a nice little half-circle for conversation, yet still allows us to comfortably take in the powerpoint presentation during class.
Back to the scene:
“What are you doing?!” appeared to be the most popular response.
For those who did not join in the table moving, there seemed to be more than an inkling of an aversion to change. And for some who did, there was a desire not to be associated with the outcome. “I have no idea what’s going on, this is MCK’s idea.”
And the interesting reality for me, is that I wasn’t even the leader of the movement. I was just the first follower. Within minutes of starting, I was already starting to be labeled as disrupting our peaceful classroom seating chart.
Why was there such a reaction to a few tables situated differently for a lecture that would not last the rest of the morning?
A number of thoughts ran through my mind during and post event, but my major takeaway from this impromptu exercise was the realization that despite being in a program about leadership, where change is not an insignificant topic of discussion, even a group like ours can be averse to the smallest of aberration to the norm.
What does this say about the general landscape for change?