Change Management Storytelling: Why being Happy Feet with Change is a better Strategy

Change Management Storytelling and why how we position it matters.

In my recent work in Change Management Storytelling I have noticed that most leaders start talking about change like this.

I am really sorry that we are changing the way we do ticketing”

I am sorry we have to put you through yet another change ”

” The new change will come with difficulties

What confuses me is, If it is that bad. Why are we Changing?

We unknowingly sound apologetic about the change and the focus on all things negative is so great that we fail to show the bright side attached to the change. The change implementation is difficult but not the actual change.

For Example, If the Change is, a new hospital is added to our Healthcare Cluster. Rather than saying, “I am really sorry but we got to help them and I am aware how hard this can be when we have so much on our plate already”

Why can’t we tell a story where because two hospitals worked together in a cluster something great happened.

This could sound something like this, “We have an amazing innovation that is going to take over the manual work of transporting the specimen bottles by hand. There is a technology that we are adopting that will  transport the using a machine. This will also help with manpower crunch we are facing and we will have more time to do high value work. We learnt about how to make this change happen from hospital XYZ who just joined our cluster last month. Contrary to our original belief they actually saved us time versus take our time “

Why does this way of talking works? 

Robert Cialdini in his book Pre-Suasion: Revolutionary Way Influence Persuade talks about how simply asking a question in the right way can put customers in the right frame of mind to buy your product. His first example comes from a surprising group: religious cult recruiters. When they recruit new members, they often ask, “Are you unhappy?” rather than, “Are you happy?” or the more neutral, “Are you happy or unhappy?”

The cult recruiters do this because framing the issue with “unhappy” makes the individual more likely to focus on those things in their life that are making them feel bad.

Research supports this. Cialdini describes a survey in Canada that asked people about their social satisfaction by asking if they whether they were “unhappy” or “happy” with their social life. The group asked using the word “unhappy” were triggered to dwell on their dissatisfactions, and were almost five times as likely to report being unhappy.

The point being, how you say something has an effect on how the listener feels towards it and as a result it  effects their response towards your question or change statement.

If your change announcement is already apologetic then it is only going to make people feel demotivated.

How about be Happy Feet with the Change Announcement first and talk about difficult path to Change second?

Our Change Management Storytelling Program is designed to not just teach you how to deliver a change story but also to equip you with Change Story that is strategically curated.

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