And then it all stops. Suddenly life, as you know, ends. Changes to something new, unknown new territory. Even when you know it might happen, will happen, you’re still taken by surprise. It all started with the eye doctor, telling me I could no longer postpone surgery. The damage done some 40 years back as a result of an accident had deteriorated to a point surgery was needed. Or loose eyesight altogether. In itself, a routine operation, just changing the lens. Nothing to it. Or so everyone around you will tell you. Doc gave me some warnings. Things that might go wrong. might take a while, but most of his information was about the end result. Surgery planned. December 2. Nervous as hell, glad my wife was there to support me. During the procedure, I could hear the doc saying: well, never seen this before, this might take a while, some assistance, please!
After what felt like forever, he told me it was all done. You might feel sore for a while. For the rest, you will be ok. It felt good. Even right after the operation, I could now, for the first time, see with my left eye. After 40 years of just light and dark, I could even read the license plates. Exciting! Back home, splitting headache for a week, but positive. I did start to see everything double but guessed I was almost there. Or so I thought. Mid-December appointment at the optician. I expected to just get my glasses replaced and be on my way. She checked my eyes thoroughly, looked at the numbers. You went from -15 diopter to -1,5. Vision is 120%. Very good. Then she said: this is not going to work. The problem is your other eye is still -9.5 diopter. With that difference, what will happen is you will see everything double. And sure enough: as she gave me a test set of glasses, I could see everything perfectly sharp, and double. 2 opticians. 2 doors. 2 of everything. I cannot help you, sir. Didn’t the doc tell you to fix the other eye as well? No? Well, just proofs they fix eyes, not eyesight. They look at the details, not at the human in front of them. Details over systems.
So now I could not see, not read. No driving. No television. And most of all: no work. First time ever, just sit and do nothing. Just stay in the dark. Just me and my thoughts running around in never-ending circles. It all stopped. Working since I was 19, 6 days a week, always busy. And then nothing. Darkness around me and increasing darkness in my mind. Doubt. Was it the right thing to do? Shouldn’t I have kept the old situation? Why did I do this? The end results suddenly out of reach. The time between the old and the new situation as a new reality, a standstill in time. The only thing to do is to have your other eye fixed as well. So a new appointment, January 13. Same procedure, done in 15 minutes. More problems, back and forth to the clinic. The waiting to let it all heal. Getting temporary glasses, waiting for the final ones. More waiting. It looks like everything will work out as planned, but boy does it take a long time. A dark time. Almost 3 months later: I can see! Start to work again.
Fixing a problem you can no longer ignore, is what we do in transformation. The current state is no longer sustainable. You have to act. And once you make the change, there is no going back. The very essence of transformation is: this is a one-way street. In transformation, the new shiny future state is what people talk about. The future explained in a lengthy list with mostly technical details. All the buzzwords implicitly focus on small parts. Transformation as a string of buzzwords. All the elements of a good scrum team. Discussions about the best MVP. Fail fast. Process changes in your ITIL, 3 to 4. Details. And yet so little focus on the process. Even when the reason why to transform is apparent, the time right after the start of the transformation can be a dark place. A time you wish, you can go back to. A time you need next to all the consulting that focuses on all the details, support that focuses on the process. The type of support that looks at the system as a whole. Support that takes all the seemingly essential details from scrum, agile, lean , MVP’s, and all the other buzzword, and then adds focus on the system as a whole. Support focuses on the transformation process itself. Like the eye doctor focuses on eyes, not on the person, we need to focus on the system. Focus on the company. Not fix an eye, but correct vision. Not minimal viable product but the minimal viable business outcome. And most of all: support to get you through the darkness that for sure will happen during the transformation. The support that makes you trust the process. Make it an essential element of your transformation plan. You will need it.