I remember a few years ago I was working with an Exec team who had grand plans for the transformation of their organisation into a customer experience oriented, service based organisation. While they were developing their plans they decided that it was incredibly important to keep them ‘confidential’ until they had made most of the changes so that the new transformed organisation could be ‘unveiled’.
The executive soon became very disenchanted with their teams who just wouldn’t make progress on their assigned project tasks. What a surprise! The people had no idea why they were being asked to do this additional work, or how it was going to be ‘good’ for them in the end.
If you were being asked to participate in (endure) change what would you need in order to contribute and be engaged?
If you don’t know what it’s going to be like at the end of the change, if you don’t know what the picture is, if you don’t know how it will feel, if you don’t know what you’ll be doing, then how likely is it that you will want to be part of it? You really have no idea of the impact on you, or what’s in it for you.
For many people it’s a case of ‘better the devil you know than the devil you don’t’. At least with the current situation you know what to expect…even if it’s not great. Asking people to take a leap of faith into the unknown is asking a lot.
So what do you need to be engaged? Something to inspire you? To motivate you? To make you want to participate?
Having a clear vision is one way to inspire, motivate and encourage participation in an organisational change.
Vision is really key to helping people to even begin to become involved. But more than just the picture at the end, a vision needs to provide the steps of how do we get from where we are now to that picture at end? A pathway if you like, and without that pathway then people may not see how to be part of the change.
Not having a vision is a bit like starting a building without a set of drawings, or a plan on how to build it. Who knows what you’re actually going to get at the end? If it will even meet the needs that were originally identified? Having a clear vision, being able to articulate that vision really succinctly, and frequently is a key to leading effective change.
How do you develop a vision? As a leader of the change a lot of this vision crafting is going to fall to you, and certainly you need to be leading the expression of the vision. To be talking to, and having conversations with the people around you, to get them engaged in the vision and the change.
I think there are four key questions that you need to answer. The four P’s of vision.
- The first P is about Purpose. What is the purpose of the change? I covered this in last week’s blog. This is the ‘Why’.
- The second question that you need to be able to answer is what is the Picture at the end of the change?
- The third P is the Pathway. What is the plan to get there?
- Finally, and this is a really important part of crafting a vision, because this is what makes it relevant to people, meaningful to people: what’s my Part in this change?
Of course throughout the change the vision needs to be communicated on a really regular basis, so that’s why keeping the messages simple is so important. Something that you can articulate in a few sentences, or a few minutes, so that people can ‘get it’.
As a leader of the change, this vision is the anchor that you can use to maintain your focus throughout leading the change. Getting that vision message clear not only helps your people, but it really helps you to stay on focus.
Love to know your thoughts.
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