Spring clean your change stories
I love the feeling of a spring clean or a new year. The chance to feel refreshed and invigorated – to cast a keen eye over life and the stuff in it and decide what’s important and what isn’t.
Rooting through dark corners I find stuff and think why on earth haven’t I sold/binned/fixed this already?
This is the feeling a great change programme will capture and use as a chance to refresh and renew all sorts of things. After all the ‘change’ is pretty unlikely to be arriving in a shiny world where everything else is perfect and nothing else is changing.
Treasure or trash?
My number one rule for great change engagement is to involve people. Let them decide what to do – set some inspiration for the people involved and see where they go with it.
You already trust them with the customers and the keys, so trust that they’ll do the right thing.
In particular, let them decide what to say. If you’ve set them up for success, with good immersion sessions and discussions, then they’ll find their own words. This will be much more successful than asking them to repeat the company version of the story (no matter how beautifully written 😊).
Get people in the mood for making things different – set a challenge to bin a meeting or a task. One person’s trash might be someone else’s treasure – so creating conversations about what works and doesn’t work will help people to decide together what’s valuable for them and for customers.
Involving people in deciding what else can be refreshed as part of a change will help them to weave new practices into everyday life.
It’s their story not yours
We know how important stories are for humans. And we’re pretty good at them – until we try to do it at work. It’s so much easier to describe the practicality of a change; to think about training and rollout plans than it is to describe how a new fancy tech box will make people feel.
The trick is to tell their story not yours.
Great communication is always all about the audience. Whether that’s adverts explaining how products will enhance your life or social conversations – no one will keep listening to someone who drones on about themselves.
Start by getting under the skin of what your change means for people.
What will happen for them? How would they describe it? What will they love? What will they hate? How exciting (or not!) will it feel? What do they care about? What else is on their minds?
Build a story of the emotions you want people to feel – grounded in reality. Even better if you can get the real, front line teams to tell their story to their peers as they experience a change.
Even if your change programme is well under way, give the story a polish and find new ways to involve people.
Can we help you? We’ve delivered 100+ communication and change projects in all sorts of blue-chip companies.
This experience means we can act fast, bring fresh thinking and tested solutions. Each business we’ve helped recommends us - we’ve even been invited back 😊