I want (you) to believe

Change management strategies are fundamental to strategy implementation.  How are you doing?

Geoff Wilson

Quick, think of a time that you made a really fundamental change in your life.  What did it take to do it?

Maybe you changed jobs or started a workout regiment.  Maybe you did something more drastic like ending a business or personal relationship.

Chances are, you made the change after thinking through the why, the what, and the how.  Chances are you didn’t make a fundamental change by leaping before you looked.

And, that’s the topic of this post.  Many of you who read this blog are leading change efforts.  You are hoping to implement new strategies (or retooled versions of old ones).  You are looking for fundamental change.

So, the question is this:  Have you looked before you leaped?  Have you set in place the fundamentals of change itself while seeking fundamental change?  The fundamentals of change can be characterized as the why, the what, the how, and the by how much

In other words, if you want to establish change in your diet, you have to convince yourself that the change is worthwhile (the why), that you know what needs to change in your diet (the what), that you know how you will feed yourself differently (the how), and how that difference gets quantified (maybe in calories, or in hours of the day you are allowed to eat).

These four elements are essential to change, and to management of change.  All too often “strategic” leaders fundamentally understand all of these aspects of their desired changes, but forget that other people can’t see inside their heads.

This is where going from believing in a change to leading change actually happens.

Let’s say you want to install a new way of managing customer accounts.  You know that doing so will lead to higher sales, can be done via basic templates, will be reinforced through monthly reviews, and can be measured in terms of completion and sales impact.

Simple, right?

Except, when you jump directly to templates and reviews with your salesforce, your organization subtly rejects the change.  Why?  They don’t have all of the fundamental elements of beliefs.  You are feeding them the what and how, but not the why and how much, perhaps.

In our strategic planning and implementation practices at WGP, we think about strategy implementation as depending on tried and true methods of change management.  T’hey include:

  • A very strong narrative or story (the “why”),
  • A very clear outline and ideally role modeling of the change required (the “what”),
  • An understanding of the skills and tools required for change (the “how”),
  • And an understanding of how change will be measured and reinforced (the “how much”).

If I’m a leader who believes in a desired change, I’ve convinced an important stakeholder–me.  The difference is I want you to believe.   No…I really need you to believe.

What do you think?  Are you using fundamental change management tools to drive your organization’s strategic change? 

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