I used to work in a grocery store and I remember the day when the store management reorganized several of the aisles.

Paper towels were moved from aisle three to four, toothpaste was moved down the aisle but on the opposite side, flour was shifted two aisles over, and pasta was moved five aisles over.

Management explained that the reorg was done because they had data to demonstrate this specific placement of products enabled people to better find what they need in relation to other products and customers would buy more. 

I was working the next day when the customers discovered that everything had moved. There was confusion as people walked in on auto-pilot and went to get what they needed and discovered that they couldn’t find it. In talking with customers, I was surprised at the emotional reaction from people and the disruption that it caused. People were frustrated that their path through the store had been changed and they couldn’t find what they needed.

Whether you are working to effect personal change or change the lives of others know that when you change how something is organized it will have an impact on you.

A reorganized store will impact how you move through it and what you buy. A two-lane highway expanded to eight lanes with new interchanges will impact how you commute. A new approval process in the office will impact how and when you coordinate with others. A new early morning fitness and diet routine will impact what you choose to do the night before.

Before making a change, be aware of the intended and unintended consequences.

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