Change management require a compelling story
Change management require a compelling change story, communicating it to employees and following it up with ongoing communications and involvement. But in practice there are some pitfalls in achieving the desired impact. What motivates you doesn’t motivate most of your employees.
Two types of change stories
There are two types of change stories consistently told in organizations. The first is the “good to great” story – something along the lines of:
Our historical advantage has been eroded by intense competition and changing customer needs – if we change, we can regain our leadership position.
The second is the turnaround story – typically a “burning platform“:
We’re performing below industry standard and must change dramatically to survive. We can become a top-quartile performer in our industry by exploiting our current assets and earning the right to grow.
These stories both seem intuitively rational, yet they too often fail to have the impact that management desire. Research by a number of leading thinkers in the social sciences, such as Danah Zohar, has shown that when managers and employees are asked what motivates them the most in their work they are equally split among five forms of impact:
- Impact on society – for instance, building the community and stewarding resources
- Impact on the customer – for example, providing superior service
- Impact on the company and its shareholders
- Impact on the working team – for example, creating a caring environment
- Impact on “me” personally – my development, paycheck and bonus
Management need to be able to tell a change story
Management need to be able to tell a change story that covers all five things that motivate employees. In doing so, they can unleash tremendous amounts of energy that would otherwise remain latent in the organization.
But before you can get buy-in, people need to feel the problem. People aren’t going to consider anything until they are convinced there is a problem that truly needs to be addressed.
Constant opportunity to evolve the business
Companies most likely to be successful in making change work to their advantage are the ones that no longer view change as a discrete event to be managed, but as a constant opportunity to evolve the business.
Change readiness is the new change management – the ability to continuously initiate and respond to change in ways that create advantage, minimize risk, and sustain performance.
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