Take Aim for Successful Change

Times and conditions change so rapidly that we must keep our aim constantly focused on the future.

Walt Disney (December 5, 1901 – December 15, 1966) was an American business magnate, cartoonist, filmmaker, philanthropist, and voice actor.

Take Aim For Successful Change 2014-09-23

Source: http://www.hdwallpapers.in/princess_merida_in_brave-wallpapers.html

Walt Disney was right. Change is occurring today at a faster rate than even he anticipated. Whether your organization is an established entity or an entrepreneurial start-up, having a common mental picture to focus on can help you navigate change.

Your mission statement expresses the purpose of the organization and its values, elements that form the basis for your mental picture. Last week, Sandra’s blog outlined key actions for developing your mission statement. As you build your mission statement, consider two key perspectives:

    • Rational lens that captures the essence of the organization, and
    • Emotional lens that truly resonates with employees.

These lenses enable you to use the mission statement as a common platform to align upcoming change initiatives. In their book Switch (Crown Publishing, 2010), authors Chip Heath and Dan Heath provide insights based on the psychology and sociology of using the head (rational lens) and the heart (emotional lens) to drive transformative change.

Rational Lens, “the head”

Your mission statement should influence the description of your current and future state. This will keep your change efforts in sync with the established purpose of the organization and build support. You can leverage this logical foundation to develop a business case for the change and answer questions such as what is changing, who will be impacted by this change, and how to get to the future state. Answers to these questions will influence the planning and direction for your change: stakeholder analysis, training focal points, and communication channels for your change activities.

Emotional lens, “the heart”

Your mission statement should also provide inspiration and relevance, touching the human side of your organization. Using values from your mission statement as a foundation can create energy for the change. Answering questions such as why the change is important and how the change is relevant will allow you to draw on the existing culture, provide direction that builds on the past, and offer a rallying point for the future. This will help engage sponsors, formulate key messages and identify cultural touch points to support a more sustainable change.



AIM for both the head and the heart as you plan change activities to bring your mission statement to life.

A – Align

Align your change with the mission of your organization. Use the defined purpose of the organization to frame your goal and the articulated values to motivate people throughout the organization. This dual focus on rational and emotional elements can stimulate a more creative approach.

    • Client example: Defining a community vision to increase the quality of life.
      We created a newspaper mock-up with stories reflecting the worst case scenarios that could result from failing to change. This approach to Darryl Connor’s “burning platform” concept led to creative breakthroughs. We identified new stakeholders and a new lens for thinking about the change.

I – Incubate

Test different ways to frame the situation. Use what you learn to identify resistance and build on what’s working. In different settings, resistance may surface from confusion about the goal and even the language used to describe it. Create messages and milestones based on your mission statement to unify the team and provide clarity.

    • Client example: Introducing a new intranet to improve communication and collaboration.
      We found the word “collaboration” didn’t resonate and that to inspire people we needed to be more specific about the opportunities to simplify and replace existing communication channels. This clarity helped overcome resistance stemming from fears that the new technology would significantly add to existing workloads.

M – Measure

Assess both quantitative and qualitative aspects of your change initiative. Certainly you’ll want to define key metrics and take measurements before and after the change. In addition, use stories of specific impacts to describe the benefits and instill a sense of progress.

    • Client Example: Introducing a new technology platform.
      The program office developed key metrics to measure before and after implementation. To help employees understand the value, we also interviewed early adopters to find success stories that would make the change come alive.

As you plan your next change initiative, step back and look through both the rational and emotional lenses provided by your mission statement to form a common mental picture and inform decisions.

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Allison Youngblood

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