Sitting in the meeting, Brad thought to himself, “I guess she thinks facts will convince me that we need to switch to this new system. Does she know how hard it’s going to be to make this massive change? Just add another task to my to-do list!”
At the podium, Brad’s manager, Lisa, looked away from her carefully prepared slides, packed with graphs of market analysis and industry data, and out into the audience. She saw frustration on her team members’ faces. She hesitated, and then closed the lid of her laptop. “We’ll get back to the facts and figures in a minute, but let me start over by telling you a story.”
Change initiatives fail, not because they weren’t necessary, well-planned or supported by sufficient information; instead, they fail because they lack an acknowledgment of human emotion. Leaders who want to drive transformational change must be able to make the business case come alive – putting facts into context, engaging the senses, and calling on people to aspire. They need to tell a compelling story that connects people to the “why” of change, and not only the “what.” Stories help people understand what’s at stake and what their role is in effecting the necessary change. The first step in gaining your team’s collaboration in driving change is to establish a shared sense of urgency to solve the problem together.
Here are five quick tips on how to use storytelling techniques to create a sense of urgency:
Based on these five tips, what story do you think Lisa should tell her team?
If you need to initiate a change urgently – whether it is switching to a new system, learning how to be productive in an open floor plan, practicing daily safety skills, or any other workplace behavior – start with the story that appeals to your team on an emotional level. You’ll connect with their deepest values and inspire them to greatness, creating the sense of urgency required to drive successful change.
Not sure where to start? Give us a call at 732.238.6622, and we’ll connect you with one of our change communication specialists.