Change Management Storytelling : 3 Little Pigs Make Strategic Choices

Change Management Storytelling requires more than just Conventional Business Rhetoric.

This blog is for you if you are of an opinion that persuading people to change on an intellectual basis is enough.

I recently worked with a prominent IT company where the brief was to develop a Change Management Narrative to manage significant changes that were being implemented within the business.

On the first day of the project I looked at all the reasons why the changes were being introduced. The reasons sounded something like this

  • We are changing over to a new system because our current systems are complex
  • We work with too many different systems
  • We are loosing competitive edge in the marketplace

The reasons are all rational and correct. But the faith that reasons alone will result in acceptance of change by staff has never really been borne out in practice. “People are not inspired to act by reason alone.” (Fryer, 2003).

Think about what the Three Little Pigs would look like if we reduced the story to conventional rhetoric.

Lets try and convert the story in to something that we can use to appeal intellectually or as conventional business rhetoric

  • TASK
    • 3 Pigs to build houses
  • STRATEGIC CHOICES FOR MATERIALS 
    • 2 Pigs choose  Straw and Sticks
  • PROS AND CONS OF THE CHOICE
    • PROS: Save time and money
    • PROS :More time for leisure activities
    • CONS: Stability at risk
  • STRATEGIC CHOICES FOR MATERIALS
    • 1 Pig chooses brick as medium
  • PROS AND CONS OF THE CHOICE
    • PROS : Stable
    • CONS: Labour and time intensive
  • IDENTIFIED CHALLENGE
    • A wolf wants to eat the pigs. Manages to break the Straw and Stick house but unable to break Brick House
  • OUTCOME AND RECOMMENDATION FOR CHANGE

    • Brick is a better choice of material

Now, let us look at the original story

Once upon a time there were three little pigs. One pig built a house of straw while the second pig built his house with sticks. They built their houses very quickly and then sang and danced all day because they were lazy. The third little pig worked hard all day and built his house with bricks.

A big bad wolf saw the two little pigs while they danced and played and thought, “What juicy tender meals they will make!” He chased the two pigs and they ran and hid in their houses. The big bad wolf went to the first house and huffed and puffed and blew the house down in minutes. The frightened little pig ran to the second pig’s house that was made of sticks. The big bad wolf now came to this house and huffed and puffed and blew the house down in hardly any time. Now, the two little pigs were terrified and ran to the third pig’s house that was made of bricks.

The big bad wolf tried to huff and puff and blow the house down, but he could not. He kept trying for hours but the house was very strong and the little pigs were safe inside. He tried to enter through the chimney but the third little pig boiled a big pot of water and kept it below the chimney. The wolf fell into it and died.

The two little pigs now felt sorry for having been so lazy. They too built their houses with bricks and lived happily ever after.

When reduced to conventional rhetoric it is neither interesting nor memorable, but the biggest disadvantage is that it does not influence or excite an individual to take action.

Here is what I ask you to consider…

If you are responsible for Change Management would you now effect it with Conventional Business Rhetoric or with a Business Story ? 

I was inspired by Libby Spear’s Slide Deck to write this blog.

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