Two things dominated both mainstream and social media this week: the impeachment hearing and frozen iguanas in Florida.
Temperatures fell across the nation this past week, including a rare dip into the 30's in the Sunshine State. Deep into the state, like Miami and Key Biscayne.
But that's not all that fell. So did iguanas. From trees.
Because iguanas are reptiles, cold weather slows them waaaaay down. The National Weather Service in Florida actually predicted it and released this statement:
"Verified the iguana warning and the wind chill advisory! Definitely not your average day in South Florida this morning."
Once Floridians discovered the trance like state of their reptilian zombies, they started having fun. I applaud their creativity, but I have a feeling People For The Ethical Treatment of Animals may be calling.
One man, however, did not have fun during his interaction with the frozen iguanas. According to Ron Magill, communications director for the Miami Zoo, a gentleman started harvesting iguanas from trees and those that had already fallen along the roadside.
He accumulated quite the stash, but forgot one thing.
Before he could get them home, his mobile incubator warmed the cold-blooded lizards back to life. Can you imagine trying to drive with dozens of creepy lizards trying to find an exit?
Needless to say, there was an accident. I can't wait for the Farmers Insurance commercial that will result: "Iguana crash! Look out! -- Been there, covered it. We are Farmer's. Bomp, Bomp, buh domp, bomp, bomp."
See, the temperature in Florida rarely changes. It just varies from hot to not so hot . . . and humid. You'd have to go back all the way to 1985 to find the last time the temperature fell below freezing. That's 35 years, people.
Iguanas like sunshine and warm temperatures. As we saw this week, they do not respond well to changing temperatures.
And really, do any of us like CHANGE that much?
We tend to view CHANGE with perceived fear or risk that we may lose something of value to us. Nobel winner Daniel Kahneman studied loss aversion which implies that one who loses $100 will lose more satisfaction than another person will gain satisfaction from a $100 windfall.
The fear of the unknown can be a powerful deterrent.
Often, we resist change for this very reason.
Leaders, unlike frozen iguanas, don't mind change. In fact, being a change agent is associated with leadership. Why is this so?
Here's why leaders lead change, and many times, actually enjoy it . . . PSYCHOLOGICAL SAFETY.
Leaders develop climates or cultures where psychological safety is practiced. What that means in every day behavior is that leaders are ok with:
(1) Mistakes that lead to learning.
(2) Risk that leads to innovation.
(3) Sharing opinions to make better decisions.
(4) Sharing information so people can do their jobs better.
Want to hear a great TED talk about it? Listen to Harvard researcher Dr. Amy Edmondson here.
Want to see how Google uses it to strengthen their teams? Read here.
Honestly, if you desire to be a leader, you are expected to lead change. Nobody else will. We are like iguanas. We prefer sunny, warm, and comfortable. Might I remind you of a quote from my favorite President, Theodore Roosevelt:
"Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doingunless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.”
Let me leave you with this. Carl Hiaasen, noted Miami Herald columnist and native Floridian, reported an unusual occurrence during the iguana story. In warmer climates, apparently iguanas are called, "chicken of the trees."
Here's a photo he posted explaining what happened to many of the iguanas this past week.
Don't be a chicken . . . er, an iguana. Embrace change, but first get your culture right by establishing psychological safety in your workplace.
Need help doing that? Email me (no strings attached) at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions!