Enabling Change

I was working with someone a while back who was in the midst of advocating for an alternative approach inside his organization.  He was frustrated.  He was deeply convinced of the benefits of his new approach and frustrated by his colleagues passivity.  My first thought was to recall a few of my lists, for example this one.

But later I got to thinking – I do have the list he was looking for.

  • enable small wins
  • provide field trips where the problem can be observed in the wild
  • increase contact with actual users, preferable ones with high emotional trigger; i.e. fame, sympathetic, impedence matched, etc.
  • don’t ever attack or dismiss their core competency, e.g. do not propose your new approach in contrast to existing practice
  • invite them to join you solving your sales problem, e.g. create an imaginary client and discuss your challenges selling to that client
  • lots of short stories of others using the approach helps – it creates social proof, demonstrates value, invites a monkey see monkey do pattern
  • create clear low cost affordances for action
  • stand ready to encourage anybody who exercises those options
  • plan out how this blends into existing their time management
  • plan out how this blends into existing sources of encouragement
  • plan to provide air cover, money, staff, and to resort their objectives
  • map out existing social networks and know that it’s the network not the individuals you need to transition

You can use that list to for an initiative (both to help or hinder), and you can use it to shift culture.  Two take two examples of culture – if your organizations tends to pile on lots of objectives or very a narrow repertoire  for giving encouragement you can be sure that new ideas are being squeezed out and adaptability suffers.  Of course adaptability it not an unalloyed good.

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