So, I'm pretty obsessed with systems change research and effectiveness. How do we go through change and how do organizations navigate change internally? So, many people know I facilitate the Systems Thinking Systems Changing simulation developed by The Network, Inc. Today on my bike ride, I applied the key learnings within the simulation to myself. Yup, I'm a DORK.
I was recently fit by a professional bicycle fitter. Michael Sylverster of Bicycle Fitting Services, suggested I try a trailer versus panniers. If you combine all the bicycle touring he's done in his life to consecutive days, it adds up to 3 complete years! His number one reason was that with a trailer, the bicycle handles pretty much the same when you have no weight (other than yourself of course) on it. He offered to loan me his trailer for a few days. I was incredibly resistant to changing up my plan two months before leaving on my bike ride across America (www.roadtorhode.com). But, I borrowed the trailer, added weight and went on a ride early this morning.
While on the ride, I thought about the systems simulation I facilitate, where school teams or public health partners that work with/in schools have to work together to bring 24 people within a virtual school district from awareness of the change (the facilitator frames the activity depending on the audience, ie., implementation of a sex ed policy, staff wellness opportunities, a new PE curriculum, etc), to the preparation stage, implementation, sustainability and beyond. Within the simulation, virtual staff emerge as leaders, champions and even resisters. I was thinking on my ride how I was a resister. And, processing that, I determined that I resisted the trailer idea only because I've ALWAYS used panniers. Since I was 15. Why change? And, honestly, that is a valid reason to resist. I'm comfortable with it. I have the equipment. I know how my bicycle feels fully loaded. When Michael told me his reasons for advocating trailer use, I was in the awareness stage. I knew it was an option. And, within that stage, I hopped a few spaces over on the game board. Last week, I made it to the preparation stage. I was prepared to try the trailer. And, I borrowed it from him yesterday and this morning took at 15 mile ride with it. At this point, I think I'm at the end of preparation and about to implement. I think I may be converting from panniers to trailer. I liked the feel of my bike with the trailer even better. In fact, loved it. At some point, I may be sustaining and beyond stages, which means I'll be advocating for the use of a trailer. In the meantime, I'm going to continue to test both options out and make a decision that fits me best!