Motivating People for Change

chrysalis-3In the recent blog post, Planning for Change, we talked about some of the important steps in setting the stage for bringing about a major change initiative. This time we’d like to share insights about creating widespread buy in to the change, or achieving what the ExperienceChange© simulation describes as “the tipping point” between resistance and commitment. This is the fourth step in the process: Motivate.

Step 4, Motivate, is also described as the act of “creating a burning platform”. John Kotter calls it “creating a sense of urgency”. Change is hard work, and many people will try to stick with the status quo unless there is sufficient reason to do otherwise. One approach is to help people see that the status quo puts the company and their own survival (i.e., job) at risk. Presumably, if this is the case, there is good information that you can share to support this view.

A second approach in motivating (that can be used in combination with the first) is to help people see that their life can be so much better with the change you are proposing. This reflects the work of Dan Pink, author of “Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates us.” His research suggests that the most powerful motivators for knowledge workers are: Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose. We’ve done other blogs on motivation so we won’t go into those topics here. In summary, be honest, be realistic, but don’t descend into “doom and gloom”. Ideally people must see the urgent need for movement, while getting a glimpse of the best path forward … for the organization and for them.

It should be said that the act of motivating, like the act of communicating (our next topic), is not a one-time event. It requires your on-going attention. People’s level of motivation and commitment to change can and will pendulum.

We’ll look at Step 5, Communicating Change in the next blog.

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