We all have a favourite Christmas film. That movie that, once watched, means Christmas is finally here again. For me, it’s none other than Charles Dicken’s, A Christmas Carol. Whether it’s one of the many black and white classics or The Muppets musical tribute, any film adaptation of the tale is sure to get me in the Christmas spirit – and I know I’m not the only one.Filled with heartwarming messages and morals, all set to a backdrop of Victorian London, there are countless reasons why the story has remained a firm festive favourite. But, I believe one of the main reasons it resonates with so many, is its underlying story of a successful change. Whether it’s in people’s personal or professional lives, we all love to see a transformation come to fruition. And these stories of rags to riches and tales of turning over a new leaf are even more welcome as we near the New Year.
As we have said before, such change is rarely simple and this is certainly highlighted in A Christmas Carol. Scrooge is put through extreme measures in the name of change, from flying with spirits to visiting his own grave. However, his journey also shows that with well-structured and honest reflection, along with some outside perspective, change is possible.
So, before embarking on your next change initiative, why not look to Scrooge’s journey for inspiration?
Visit past projects:
In order to show him the error of his ways, Scrooge’s first visitor takes him back in time to reflect on moments from his youth. If you have read some of our previous insights on successful change initiatives, you will know just how important this step of reflection is; to move forward effectively, we must begin by understanding where we have gone wrong.
By taking a look at your past projects, the good, the bad, and even the unfinished, you can learn from your mistakes and avoid your previous pitfalls. Of course, it’s not always easy to look at your past with a critical eye and so you may need some help removing the rose-tinted glasses. While you won’t have an angelic spirit to hand, you’re likely to be in touch with at least one member from a past project team. Through their recollection of events, they can help you view the project from a different perspective and may even offer you constructive criticism.
Consider present projects:
The second spirit to visit Scrooge is there to open his eyes to all the errors he is making in his present life. On first glance, it may seem as th
ough this ghost has the easiest job. After all, he doesn’t have to fly Scrooge over London rooftops or deal with the presumably tricky task of time travel. However, anyone involved in improvement projects will understand that this jolly giant has the hardest job of all – to show Scrooge where he is currently going wrong.
Taking an honest and critical look at our current projects can be difficult. Engrained in habit and emotion, and masked by the humdrum of day-to-day life, we can quickly become blissfully unaware of our faults. However, if we are to make our projects truly successful, we must regularly and honestly analyse our current performance. For many people, this means defining their goals and areas for improvement, and then putting in place performance measures to keep them on track.
Look to future projects:
Finally, to ensure Scrooge has the well-rounded reflection necessary for change, he is visited by the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. Silent and mysterious, this ghost embodies the fear many of us have for the unknown future, and warns Scrooge of what is to come if he does not change his ways.
While I’m sure none of us would wish for a Grim Reaper-like spirit to show us the shadows of the future yet to come, we could all do with considering what the future holds if we remain unchanged. And it is likely, if we continue to tackle projects in the same way we always have, that the future won’t be too dissimilar to present day: The projects will still be encountering the same frustrating issues and producing the same poor results. However, just like Scrooge, if we heed the lessons learned from past and present projects, we can begin to shape a more successful future.
From the perils of undervaluing your staff to the moral implications of greed, there are many lessons to be learned from this tale. But, for those who struggle to complete projects or manage change effectively, this is the message to take away this year: Before making a change or implementing an initiative, take time to reflect on and analyse your past and present projects, and consider the future carefully. Then, with the enthusiasm of Scrooge waking up a new man on Christmas day, it’s time to get to work and make those all-important improvements.
If this insight has got you in the mood for more Christmas content, take a look at some of our other December insights and infographics, or click the button below to try our interactive Advent calendar. With games, puzzles and prizes behind each door, it will leave even the grumpiest of office humbugs feeling festive!