At this point we should have a good sense of the type of change we’re leading, the formula for successful change and our drivers and barriers. We can take the insights we gained from gathering this information and distill them into a compelling narrative (or change story).
The purpose of our change story is to:
- Develop a shared understanding among the leadership team and critical stakeholders of the purpose of the change
- Increase dissatisfaction with the status quo
- Increase recognition of the risks and costs of not changing
- Establish a sense of urgency behind the change
This narrative is essential in increasing a common understanding of the need for the change and is helpful in eliciting buy-in and keeping momentum going.
How do we develop a convincing case for change?
We can start by thinking again about our drivers of change. These are the basis for our narrative. The following is an example of how we could go about creating our case for change.
- Discuss the drivers with the change team and develop a list
- Validate the list with the leadership team and key stakeholders and choose the most compelling drivers from among the list
- Based on this validation, develop a narrative about why the change is necessary (this can be quite simple, a few lines for each driver, focusing on the most compelling aspects)
- Create a document, deck or other means of succinctly communicating our narrative (we can include both the reasons for changing and the risks associated with not changing)
- Set up discussions where we communicate the case for change and offer an opportunity to have meaningful conversations (these are great opportunities to invite feedback to increase our understanding of how the drivers and barriers are perceived and inform future iterations of the case for change that will better connect with stakeholders)
Keep in mind the rational and the emotional
Research shows that employees are most engaged and productive when they attach meaning to their work. Two important ways we give meaning to our jobs are through an emotional connection to the work we do and understanding how this work is linked to something bigger than ourselves.
While communicating the details and tangible benefits of a change effort is important, it is only one part of the case for change. It is important that we be intentional about including components that address both the emotional connection to our work and how our work impacts colleagues, clients, other partners, Canadian citizens, and whomever is part of the bigger picture.
For example, the timing of the change is an important detail that we need to include. But, so is the broader impact of the change and how it is going improve what we do in a meaningful way, resulting in better outcomes for stakeholders.
Now that we have a good sense of our drivers and our case for change, we can begin to generate our vision for the future.