Organizational change is tremendously messy and often unsuccessful endeavor. Often business leaders assume change is about new processes and procedures, a new IT system or a change in office layout. But really, organizational change is about people. Without buy-in from real people, new initiatives aren’t likely to be successful. Change requires a strong, but flexible, organizational vision and lots of support from disparate people throughout an organization. While working at XPLANE and Trainiac I often helped organizations in the initial step of complex change initiatives.
Initial conversations had to be developed in a collaborative fashion. Nothing could be treated as precious, as the ideas were still in their infancy and iteration was the name of the game. When we entered these conversations, we created a rough outline of how we imagined an engagement might move forward. The sole purpose of these early conversations we to identify gaps in our understanding to ultimately create a shared understanding in which all team members were truly on the same page. We needed to show where we weren’t aligned early on.
As all parties began to converge on the same vision, we used visual tools to help articulate these new findings to a wider audience. Any departure from the status quo is likely to met with fear and uncertainty. We didn’t only make vision maps, we provided change agents with the language and tools they needed to hold a conversation with a variety of folks within their organization. We helped them tell the story from the current – possibly unnoticed – pains the organization was feeling, achievable steps along the way, and an image of what the future might look like after a successful change initiative.
These change stories aren’t just about huge organizational transformations. They might be the introduction of a new product into a company’s repertoire, a change in the organizational hierarchy, or how an organization might respond to changing macroeconomic forces. After confirming all stakeholders are truly on the same page, it’s important to have the correct tools to move forward.