When calling for participation in organisational change, your first job is to move people… emotionally.
Push and Pull
There are two ways to move people emotionally, just as there are two ways to move something physically: you can apply a push, or a pull. Let’s look at them one at a time.
Crank up the Pain
The first step is to create a push. Most people are comfortable as the are and to change is uncomfortable. The perceived pain of making the change exceeds the pleasure of achieving it. This is rarely because the pain is greater – it is simply more imminent. It’s like standing in front of a hut in the foot-hills of the Himalayas. Stand close enough to the hut, and it will eclipse Everest and seem taller.
So the fastest solution is to match and exceed the pain of changing by demonstrating the pain of not-changing. You need to show that not changing will lead to problems that exceed the discomfort of changing.
“If it ain’t broke …”
……………….. ……………“don’t fix it!”
This is one of the commonest things you will hear in times of change. And it is really a very sound policy. Your task is to demonstrate that it is broke.
Don’t Overdo the Pain
However, once you get people moving, it does not seem very ethical to continue to motivate people with what amounts to a tactic of fear. It’s time to change strategy entirely. Turn on the pleasure.
The next step is pleasure. Now apply a pull by conjuring up a compelling vision of the future.
“I have a dream”
Offering positive reasons for the change is a more sustainable, ethical and ultimately more powerful approach to winning support. People need meaning in life and this is you opportunity to spell out a real purpose and benefits to the change. This will create a pull that will draw people towards the future you spell out.
There is something essential about how to articulate your vision: you have to be able to move people. This requires that your vision is more than just words. It has to have . . .
. . . vision
The “so what?”
To create organisational change, you must spell out why it is necessary and you must show people what there is to gain. Both are necessary and sequence is important.