Comics Disarm Sensitive Topics
“Okay, Bob (an excellent employee), here’s the thing: I need you to change how you do your job. Believe me, it’s not you!” – Julie (Bob’s excellent manager)
What do you think Bob is thinking?
“What did I do now? I hit all my metrics this year.”
“Julie just doesn’t see my unique value.”
“This is the second set of new marching orders in six months. Maybe it’s time to look for a new job.”
Have you ever been in Bob or Julie’s position? Yes? Then please keep reading to see why a comic is a great way for Julie to validate her request.
Why are comics amazing communication tools? To recap, comics have four key characteristics:
- Comics tap into an innate form of communication.
- Comics disarm sensitive topics.
- Comics suspend disbelief.
- Comics have powerful alignment properties.
And now let’s get to the specifics of the second characteristic: Comics disarm sensitive topics. (For reference, you may want to read the previous blogs in this series, “Why Should You Be Using a Comic in Your Business?” and “How to Harness the Power of Comics in Your Organization: Part 1.”)
“We’ll tolerate the conclusions of our leaders, but we’ll ultimately act on our own conclusions.”
– Jim Haudan
Change is hard!
Here’s the thing: can we all just agree that change is hard? It’s HARD! And when you add change into an already hard-working employee’s daily routine, you’re making his or her life, well, even harder! And that’s not all. That, in fact, is the easy part. Pushing someone to do more work or do work differently is just the tip of the iceberg.
When you ask an excellent employee like Bob to change his daily work routine and habits, ones he has been accustomed to for months (or even years), you unintentionally imply he isn’t doing his job well. This leads to emotional fallout. And emotional fallout means you may lose Bob, your excellent employee.
All this because Bob is human…and so is Julie…and so are we. One can easily see the conundrum here, especially in a good organization where employees are valued and respected.
But here’s the catch: we live in a fast-paced world where change is happening at a pace unmatched in recorded human history. Markets, customers, technology, fashion, and our SVP of HR’s hair color change at an equally fast rate. To stay competitive, an organization’s strategies and their execution must inevitably change. And Bob’s daily work routine must as well. But, as we already pointed out, change is hard.
What to do?
Hint… the answer’s in the subtitle.
Comics disarm sensitive topics!
A drawing done well communicates a complete idea. It will give Bob context. The same context that gave Julie and her peers the wherewithal to ask Bob to change in the first place. All you need to do is help Bob see the bigger picture. If he gets that, he won’t just adapt to the change – he’ll want the change.
Bob’s an excellent employee.
Julie’s an excellent manager.
Change is hard.
Change is really hard.
When asked to change in a work setting, we humans take it personally.
Therefore, don’t ask for change.
Comics save the day!