Change Storytelling: A Smart Way To Talk About Smart Factories

If you conduct meetings with senior business leaders with an objective of getting approval on key messages for important internal and external comms, then this blog is for you.

In the coming weeks I may have to meet senior business leaders of a semiconductor factory to take them through a story that their leadership team and I have worked on in a workshop.

The story answers a pertinent question, “Why are we transforming our factory into a smart factory?”

The objective of the meeting is to make sure that the key messages embedded in the story are correct. Even though the objective is to get an approval of key messages, I will make a bold decision to not present the key messages till right at the end of the meeting.

Why such a decision?

Let me explain using one of the key messages, which is,

Through the smart factory initiative, we will create the Workforce of the Future.

Now, if I present this key message as it is, it opens a can of worms for me because we will have a range of people in the meeting who will fuss over this key message and say things like, “Not future but near future.” The discussion will become about everyone’s subjective view on how the statement is crafted.

This happens because when we do not establish context for our audience, and in the absence of context and presence of confusion, the audience relies on what seems most comfortable to them, an intellectual disagreement.

A smarter move would be for me to say something like this,

Last week I had a very interesting conversation with one of your senior engineers, Foo Say Wee. Foo and I were walking around the factory floor and I noticed your newly introduced robot, the automated guided vehicles that facilitates the transportation of chips across different parts of the facility. Foo noticed that I was intrigued by the robot and said, “In the past, for the lots delivery, it used to be carried out manually by the operator who had to search the lots and then carry the lot and hand it to the equipment. There were times when I would watch the operators do arduous work and I would feel their pain. But today, by employing automation, the lot is automatically delivered to the operator and after that we have robotic vehicles that automatically come over and transport the lots to the equipment. This has really improved the quality of our work. I have learnt new skills like managing and supervising the robots and I feel that my newly developed skills are very valuable in the current working environment.”

Now that is an example of creating the workforce of the future.

Why telling a story is a smarter move?

Firstly, it is hard to disgree with a specific thing that happened to a specific person. What is the business leader going to tell me, “No, I think that is not true”? Not at all.

Secondly, we’re so engrossed in what has happened to someone that we do not have the cognitive resources to disagree. We’re so engaged in following the narrative that we don’t question what is being said. So in the end, we’re much more likely to achieve our desired outcome of getting approval on key messages versus landing in an intellectual disagreement.

Change is most effective when wrapped with Change Storytelling.

Here is a 1min 46sec video reinforcing the point that I am making.

Our Change Management Storytelling Programme is designed to help you tell the Change Story in the most effective way.

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