Looking for a strategy to influence people to take action in support of change?
I would like to share a work plan, on how to influence change, that I have found to be extremely helpful!
Effective communications need to influence people to take action in support of change. This work plan included the following elements:
- The information must be understandable and make sense.
- The information and those delivering it must be credible.
- The information must be balanced, talking about both the upsides and downsides of the intended change.
- The information must convey transparency; that is, the audience must feel confident nothing is being held back or “spun” to disguise other hidden motives.
- The information and the manner in which it is conveyed must make the audience want to further discuss, question and explore, rather than remain silent or attack the message or the messenger.
My goal was to create an environment for meaningful dialogue…this dialogue is critical to help people start moving forward.
Ideally all questions from the audience are addressed once the presentation is complete. The opening might look like this:
“Let me take a few minutes to talk about the rationale for this change, talk about the general direction and anticipated outcomes, and more importantly, talk about some of your likely concerns with this change and how we can work together. Finally, the best part… talk about what’s not impacted by this change…that is, what’s staying the same and I would love to hear your questions and comments.”
Step 1: Why the change is needed/what’s wrong with the status quo.
- Start by being upfront about what change is being planned, so that there is complete transparency.
- Acknowledge how much people value the current service and that this change may not be embraced by our stakeholders.
- Use facts to demonstrate how the current delivery of the service is not in alignment with our vision to focus on front end resolution of disputes.
- Frame the “burning platform” in a way that everyone can relate to, so that the change is necessary for all stakeholders.
Step 2: Where we’re going/anticipated benefits and outcomes.
- Don’t spend much time on this step…we don’t want to be seen as cheerleaders.
- This is the least compelling step for the audience and we can come back to this.
- Speak to benefits that are personally relevant to the audience we are trying to influence.
- Don’t go overboard with the bigger-picture organizational benefits.
- Use every day, grounded language that will resonate with the audience we are trying to influence.
Step 3: Concerns with the change and how to minimize or provide support.
- Acknowledge that we don’t presume to know all the concerns that the audience may have but we have talked to some stakeholders as we attempt to assess what some of the concerns might be.
- We want to focus on this very important step as we need to hear what the concerns are…most important part of this conversation!
- Identify concerns that we are already aware of and how we think they can be mitigated.
- Welcome the expression of other concerns and needs that we have not identified.
- Acknowledge that we do not presume to fix all the issues today because we need your contributions to find solutions…this must be a collaborative effort to be successful!
This is the most important and relevant step to the audience. Once people understand why the change is necessary, they then need to know that we understand their concerns and will do what we can to lessen those concerns and/or offer our support. This step should take up half of the presentation.
Step 4: What’s not changing/things valued that won’t be disrupted.
- Comment on the things that will not change.
Time for Questions
Now, it’s time to leverage the powerful opportunity of two-way dialogue. We want to hear about other concerns and needs that we may not have thought of. We have the chance right now to set the stage for a collaborative approach to moving forward…it’s all about engagement…it’s all people being part of the process…you won’t want to miss this opportunity.
Why Do I Recommend This Approach?
I can sum up my answer with this example. In a recent project, a powerful stakeholder, when comparing the change initiative I was leading to a change initiative being led by another business area, made this comment:
“Even though I am still not completely supportive of the change we have made, I want to tell you that I feel like this has been the most collaborative approach that I have ever experienced and other business areas could learn from your approach. Thank you for providing me with the opportunity to find our way forward.”
==>Go here for another awesome resource “Leading Change”<==
I hope you have found this strategy helpful. What do you think…I would love to hear from you. Here is a link to my profile.
All the best!
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