When changing how we do things in our business the first step is likely to be: planning how to do things in a new and different way. When we have a plan we can start to implement the changes according to plan. Sounds simple? Some will tell you that it’s not that simple and not that all that easy either. According to McKinsey & Co, about 70% of change programs fail to achieve their goals.
Change implementation can be a challenge and countless stories have been told about how the plan was perfect but then nothing changed. People didn’t really follow the plan or do as it said, and the desired outcome was never reached.
The simple fact is that people are more likely to follow a visionary dream than a plan, or even to work towards a specific goal. Companies that have successfully transformed themselves and made some real lasting changes usually spend time on creating and sharing The Dream.
Try the following steps the next time you are about to make major changes in your business. It might make your change implementation a little easier and employees more likely to be more committed than ever before.
#1 PLAN LESS – DREAM MORE
#2 LEARN HOW TO TELL A GOOD STORY
#3 MAP OUT YOUR CULTURE
#4 CREATE A COMMUNICATION CANVAS
#5 KNOW YOUR KEY PLAYERS
#6 TRUST THE PROCESS
STEP #1 – Less planning and more dreaming!
Do you want people to change their behaviour and start working towards a new vision? Tell them about the company’s Dream and the purpose of the changes. Give people the chance to see the future with you and they will find a way to get you both there. Planning your transformation is of course a part of the process but also give creative space and be prepared to let each unit in your company have a say on how to do things. Most people don’t like being told how they should do things, just give them why and what the purpose is, and they will figure out the best way how.
STEP #2 – Learn how to tell a good story.
Storytelling is one of the most powerful tools to change our thoughts and behaviours. Research show that a good story will evoke a neurological response and trigger the limbic system to release dopamine, which makes us more hopeful and optimistic
You should have a look at Joseph Campbell’s model for the hero’s journey, as a good template on how to structure a good story. Try to replace the hero in the story with the company itself or better yet with the employees. Make the employees the hero of the story and they will co- write the whole adventure all the way to the triumphant return of the successful hero.
STEP #3 – Map out your culture.
“Culture eats strategy for breakfast” is a well-known phrase and that is exactly the case when it comes to getting the Dream across to people. Knowing your culture is key to understanding how and what to say to whom when communicating The Dream as well as understanding what makes the inside of your company tick. Assessing culture can be tricky though, it is somewhat fluid and a collective of many things in the workplace environment. Use the right questions for the right people to get your answers. Strategic interviewing gets you a long way. Be brave enough to ask questions and know your culture, then you will know what type of story will resonate with your audience.
STEP #4 – Create a communication canvas.
When you have created the story, you want to communicate and articulate The Dream, adjust and tailor it to resonate with each audience, be it employees, management, media, investors, customers or change agents within your company. Make sure that The Dream shines through on every “channel”, in meetings, in the break room, on social media and in your one on one discussions along the way. Time your messages right and you will create more commitment and excitement along the way. Organizational changes and transformations are usually longer projects and telling the story and sharing The Dream is vital every step of the way.
STEP #5 – Know your key players.
A company is only as good as its collective talent. Knowing who the key players are with regards to performance, potential performance, willingness to embrace The Dream or perhaps to hinder or prevent necessary development is valuable information. It takes courage to map this and pick out your heroes for the journey toward the dream.
STEP #6 – Trust the process.
Realize that no one has all the right answers. Trust that if you give room for co creation along the way you will get the best results. Use design thinking methods or system thinking, try agile principles or other co-creation processes. Different methods will work in different situations within the organization. Give creativity space and let your team take credit for realizing the dream. It is when you wake up one morning and your dream has come true that can you share with others how it happened.
Mikko Hulkkonen is a Senior Manager at Capacent Finland. Mikko has global, comprehensive experience in supply chain management in various industries and businesses: consumer goods, retail, wholesale, chemicals, paper, automotive and food. He is keen on exploiting lean management principles across the supply chain in order to maximize the performance and efficiency as well as customer satisfaction.
Hanna María Jónsdóttir is a Senior Recruitment Consultant at Capacent Iceland. She has worked in human resources and management since 1998, both within the administration and in the private sector. Hanna María has experience in formulating and implementing policy in the field, consulting with managers and middle managers as well as hiring and hiring processes.
Tinni Kári Jóhannesson is a Senior Recruitment Consultant at Capacent Iceland. He worked at Capacent Iceland in 2016-2017 and returned to work in early 2019. In the years between, he has worked in Canada with managerial recruitment and consulting.