A tree fell into a man’s driveway last week. (A lot of trees fell into a lot of places in Connecticut last week. But this story is about one tree.)  Since the man in this story had not expected this to happen, he needed to adjust – as did his family and neighbor.

The man discovered the tree when he turned into his driveway from a trip to the store. Not knowing what to do, he called his neighbor who came over and looked.

“What do we do?”

“Cut it up with my chainsaw and move it.”

“That will work.”

“Since there’s only 30 minutes of daylight left, I’d prefer to do this in the morning if that’s OK”

“Works for me. My family’s going on a trip in the morning. Since the car is outside the tree, I’ll take them and we’ll tackle the tree when I get back.”

They did.

The point of the story is that the same tree led to different people having to adjust in different ways.

  • The city tree removal experts didn’t have to do anything. (Which was a very good thing since they were busy with a gaggle of other trees and downed wires and…)
  • The man’s family had to adjust by walking to the end of the driveway to start their trip instead of jumping into the car in the garage. (Not a big deal.)
  • The man with the tree adjusted by getting help since he had neither the tools nor expertise to deal with the situation on his own.
  • The neighbor adjusted by pitching in to help.

Trees will fall in your way while you are onboarding into new positions. Remember that the same incident will affect different people differently. Before you react, think through whether you should a) do nothing, b) make a minor adjustment without changing your basic plan, c) get help, or d) pitch in to help someone who needs help more than you do.

George Bradt – PrimeGenesis Executive Onboarding and Transition Acceleration