Change management from a coral’s perspective


One of my hobbies is tending to salt water aquariums. I presently am running two, a 55 gallon and a 75 gallon.  My wife is now letting me get a 200 gallon tank and has agreed to my taking over the dinning room with it. To put it in context it will end up being a set up that is 8 ft tall, 7 ft wide, 2 ft deep and weigh in at a bit over 3500 lbs.

Getting ready for such a thing is no small undertaking and involves everything from plumbing the tanks to reinforcing the structure of the house where this will sit. The first step though was to relocate the other two aquariums.

Working with salt water is a bit more complicated than fresh. You don’t only have to worry about the temperature of the water when you introduce something, but you also have to be concerned about the salinity, PH, water hardness, calcium levels.  Many corals are particularly sensitive to the change and can be harmed or killed by a rapid change in the water. I have it set up so that water continually circulates between the two current tanks and the sump so in theory, there shouldn’t be any difference in the water quality from one tank to the other, which makes it easier when you relocate things as I had to do.

As I started to move things from one tank to the other, I drained the water back to the sump and started catching fish and removing corals as the water level decreased in the tank to be moved.  As it got lower, a lot of sediment was stirred up and the water became pretty murky.  One the level was low enough, I pulled out the largest of my corals, which is also the most sensitive, and moved it to the other tank.  The goal was to keep it in the water as long as possible and moved as quickly as I could so that he wouldn’t be impacted.

That happened 3 days ago and he’s still not adjusting well. I don’t know if it was the mess that was stirred up just before the transition or if it was the transition itself. Maybe the new environment wasn’t as ready as I thought It was.

As I was looking at him this morning, I thought about a recent conversation I had about Self-Service with one of my key stakeholders.  He’s very excited to introduce ESS and MSS to the business because of the efficiencies it will introduce and the money it will save.  However, he recognizes that we have to take it slow and acclimate the business to it first otherwise it won’t be adopted.  If we introduce small changes and improvements over time though, they will be using Self-Service before they know it.

We’ve all heard about the frog in a boiling pot of water, but I don’t think we realize how often we are just like that.  We will push back against sudden change, but if it’s done gradually and we are given time to adjust before we realize it, we’ve adopted the change without even knowing it.  Without out adoption from the organization, even the best of solutions will won’t succeed.

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