Guest Post from Madelaine Kenner: Michelango, The Sistine Chapel and Your Next Big Project

Take a look at this photo for a second. It's quite amazing that one person created such a magnificent work of art as monumental as this famous masterpiece. So how does this pertain to change management? Think of this fresco as a physical example of the phases you are going to go through; just as Michelangelo went through his phases to painting this historical beauty, those same phases can be related to what you are going to go through with every new skill you pick up; the time spent in each phase will be entirely up to you!
     Let's start with Area 1. This initial phase happens anytime you have a new challenge up in front of you; your excitement about this new, novel idea is very high without knowing the skillset you may need to successfully master it. Michelangelo did not just walk into the Sistine Chapel and start painting just to paint. He was given an idea and figured out his big picture. However, Even though he may have mapped out the entire task and gave himself a very in depth "job plan", planning is just busy work without execution of the plan.
     Next phase is Area 2. This is the tough phase for everyone yet is the determining phase for whether you deem it worth it to continue on with the change or revert back to your own ways. This area is called the "Valley of Despair". Go back to that new skill you were initially excited about. At this point, you are starting to realize it may take a little more effort and skill than anticipated. At this point, you need to stop looking at the big picture and actually start looking into the details. If you keep looking at how far you have left to become proficient, you will get overwhelmed. Instead, focus on the details; what needs improvement, what successes you already have, what you need more of, what you need less of, etc. Those details, when taken one at a time, will allow you to swallow that doubt you may have bubbling up inside of you.
     The third phase; Area 3. This is the point where you are rising out of the depths of the "Valley of Despair". This phase is where you are starting to take hold of the new skills you are achieving. You may not be perfect at it yet, but the pieces of the puzzle are starting to show you the big picture. To revert back to the fresco, this is the point where Michelangelo was getting past his half way point; he started seeing his vision come to life and, though not completed, he sees his big picture starting to come to life with all the work and detail he is putting in. HOWEVER, your full return on investment has not completely been fulfilled...until the final stage.
     The final stage of change management is Area 4. This is where you are officially the master of this challenge. When Michelangelo brushed his last stroke and took a look at what all he accomplished, he along with everyone else saw the mastery in his craft. This phase is where not just you but everyone sees the big picture. You not only can vividly elaborate on the big picture, but you can also be the living proof that it can be accomplished.
     So think of every challenge you come across as Michelangelo painting the Sistine Chapel; create the excitement about the big picture, KNOW YOU WILL GET OVERWHELMED and focus on the details, learn what opportunities lie ahead and master them, then push yourself until your big picture is physically in front of you

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