Change management: Expectations shape reality, but doggone it, this wasn’t what we were expecting!


Last year, we lost Stormy, our sweet 11-year-old lab, to cancer. So my husband Mike and I started talking about getting a companion for Jack, our 10-year-old labradoodle. We had even thrown around some cute names for our new addition like Alesh, Stella, Jameson, Henry, Ireland. We agreed that the new addition would be: Medium-sized, three to five years old, potty-trained, and well-behaved.

Then, we just waited for those expectations to be met. They were great expectations, to be sure, just like we experience every day in the business world. But, were they too great?

Looking for opportunity in the right places

Since I volunteer at an animal shelter, I had been keeping my eyes open for the right dog. I arrived for my shift on a pretty spring Saturday afternoon and as soon as our eyes met, I knew she was the one! Turns out, an Animal Control Officer (ACO) found this lovely dog the day before. Her nails were painted bright red, she had a pretty pink collar on, but she had the saddest eyes I’ve ever seen.

Immediately, the song “Sad Eyes” started playing in my head.

I just couldn’t let this sweet girl sit in a kennel one minute longer – she had to come home with me. Unfortunately, dogs who have been found by an ACO must wait five days in order to contact the rightful owners. So, when I got home that day, I told Mike all about her: Three-years-old, 56 pounds, St. Bernard/Coon hound mix, potty-trained, good on a leash, doesn’t bark, doesn’t jump, etc. She would be a perfect addition to our family.

Two weeks later, Stella came home. What a perfect angel! Our expectations were met!

Then, within three days, doggone it, the honeymoon was over. Stella completely destroyed two large dog beds, ate a bottle (60) of melatonin dog treats, ate food she could reach off the counter, and then opened the drawer that contained Ziploc plastic bags and chewed off the zippers. She also gnawed on rugs, electric cords, books, magazines, and anything else within her reach.

She drove Jack crazy, biting his legs, pulling his tail, licking his ears, and constantly wanting to play. One day, we came home and even found Stella sitting on the middle of the dining room table. What in the world was happening?

Change management: Expectations versus reality

We expected a sweet, disciplined, three-year-old, but in reality got a rambunctious, unmanageable puppy. And, our vet confirmed it. Stella was less than a year old! There was a definite gap between our expectations and reality.

Unfortunately, we set our expectations too high, got caught up in all the bliss, and were out-of-sync with reality. The problem was not Stella. The problem was her humans. We needed to shift our mindset, change our attitude, change our behavior to adapt to reality.

As you can see in my last post, sometimes the change management professional needs a little reminder about how to best manage change.

So, you’re asking – how does adopting a new dog relate to my day-to-day experiences as someone looking to initiate an OnBase project? Here are some best practices regarding how to properly implement an OnBase change at your organization:

  • Clearly define expectations early so any preconceived ideas do not impede project success
  • Be cautious about setting expectations so high that they can’t be achieved
  • Acceptance of the change is essential to long-term success – so look inward to see what you need to shift in order to embrace reality

The opportunity that lies in change can only be achieved when the reality of making the change is addressed. Learn more about change management here.



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