There’s a show on the History Channel that I am fascinated with called “American Restoration.” It’s a reality show about Rick’s Restorations in Las Vegas, Nevada. Every episode shows customers bringing in old things that the restoration crew makes new again.
As a change practitioner, I find it ironic that people would pay thousands of dollars to change something back to the way it was before. But really, they are changing something they would like to keep to a condition they would prefer to have it in. They want to make it look good, run smoothly, be useful, and gain longevity. The parallels to organizational change are fascinating to think about.
With the passage of time, edges get worn, paint fades, parts break, dust settles. What used to work doesn’t work anymore, whether from too much use and repetition or from sitting dormant. For it to be worth having, they need to make it new again.
Each object that is brought into the shop is unique, yet to get most items back to mint working condition the crew has to:
- Thoroughly dismantle it
- Clean it
- Sandblast it
- Replace broken and rusted parts
- Pound out the dents
- Fill holes
- Weld it
- Paint it
- Reassemble it
- Make sure it works
And yet after all that, it’s still the same object underneath, otherwise it wouldn’t be a restoration but a reproduction.
What have been the effects of time on your organization?
In what ways is your change initiative a restoration project?