Many of you will be familiar with the Bus seat analogy used by Jim Collins in his book ‘Good to Great’. It is a handy tool to use when framing organizational change discussions around Team member and Leadership roles and allows us to retain dignity and respect to all parties as we are not advocating throwing anyone off the bus, simply getting folks into the right seats for their own and the organization needs given the particular journey that the group is on.
Most buses have a call bell that passengers can press to alert the driver that their stop is approaching and that they wish to get off. There are times that we hover with our hand over the stop bell as we may not want to miss something or maybe we want to go around the route one more time to see if anything new happens. The risk of this strategy is that other passengers can often see if we are hovering over the bell and may be aware that we have told the driver that we intend to get off at the next stop. The danger is that you can become resented for holding onto a seat that someone else could use who is more interested in the destination that just being along for the ride.
In my case a few years back I came to the realization that I was on the wrong bus altogether and quickly determined to press the driver bell and get off the bus. The bus I am on now is going to a similar place as the previous bus but taking an entirely different route and one that is far better suited to me and me to it.
So check your perceptions and perceptions of those passengers around you and be confident that you can own your decision and press the driver call bell.
Simon Kemp – SVP North America Development