To Action: A WHY To Rally Behind
A few years ago I wrote a blog post on ‘the only good thing about that long list of generic organisational values’. You know the ones - platitudes such as ‘Accountability’, ‘Integrity’, ‘Excellence’. Phrases so vague that they are almost meaningless. At best, they are just putting a word to something that any reasonable person would be expected to do as part of their day to day. In essence these values are saying ‘just act reasonably’.
As a Change Leader - part of your job is to build and rally others behind a clear, shared change WHY. What you don’t want to do is fall into that same vagueness trap.
So this week I invite you to self assess your current change WHY against the following principles.
These are the Principles of a Great WHY.
Does your WHY:
Paint a picture of current and future reality?
Connect with emotion?
Avoid describing WHAT needs to be done (the solution)?
Avoid jargon and buzz-words?
To give you an example of what I’m talking about here. Here’s an example of a generic WHY statement:
Our organisation is currently process-centric. We are restructuring and shifting to digital to become customer-centric and better support our customers.
Which, when we connect this with reality, remove the WHAT (solution) elements, and move away from buzz-words, it becomes:
While we strive for great service, the reality is that our customers are often caught up in our red-tape and are stuck with a sub-par experience. From taking 5 days to respond to email and an average wait time of 60 minutes throughout our call-centres; it’s clear we have much room for improvement. We can do better.
Tell me, which would you prefer to rally behind?
(PS. in case you were wondering - the one good thing that comes from those generic values is an excuse for risk taking. Values such as ‘boldness’ provide a cultural shield for people to take risks in even conservative environments’.)
To Ponder: Bringing The WHY In
95% of the change initiatives I’ve seen across my career define a WHY, create the solution and then get about delivering. (Although, these steps are often done in the reverse order… but that’s another conversation). Those leading these initiatives then act surprised when what was delivered doesn’t always meet the organisation’s or customer’s needs.
The opposite to this is a concept that I call ‘Bringing The WHY In’ - which involves finding ways incorporate the WHY into the mechanics of delivery.
Here’s one such example - when running a reflection session (lessons learned, retrospectives, learning journeys, etc.), have someone in the team wear the ‘WHY’ hat. This person will represent the WHY in the room - championing what went well and what didn’t from the customer’s perspective that fortnight.
It’s simple, relatively pain free, and creates a new WHY-driven voice in the room.
…And of course, that’s just one avenue.
How can you Bring The WHY Into your change?
To Reflect: Hive Minds and Blind Spots
Let me share with you, word for word, a discussion from my house earlier this week:
Me: “…but, I get the feeling he’s a bit of a workaholic”
My wonderful wife: “well.. some may say the say the same about you.”
Me: “Ha! Yes… good point.”
As the late comedian George Carlin said - “anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac”.
In short - we all have a blind-spot for our own actions and opinions.
My wife is able to see mine because, although we have been together since our late teens, we are fundamentally different people supporting each towards a shared vision. This diversity is to our benefit.
Yet, I see too many clients building leadership teams of ‘yes-people’.
How well are you surrounding yourself with diversity of opinion?
The strongest grouping of people seems to be one that has a shared value & vision, but diversity of skill, approach and experience.
But remember there’s a big difference between a team with a shared vision and a team with a hive-mind.
Where’s Brendon This Week? - Brendon Is Going To Be On The Change Management Review
The recording and release date is yet to be confirmed, however this is an early heads up that I’ll be on the Change Management Review in the near future. In particular, I plan to cover both the Three Ripples of Change, and How To Find Your Organisation’s Internal Influencers (aka Change Champions on Steroids).
If you’re curious about those topics ahead of time - just hit reply to this email and I’d be happy to share.
Extreme Early-Bird Special: Leading Valuable Change
I’m offering recipients of The Change Leader Weekly an extreme early-bird special for my early-2022 workshops.
If you’re a change leader looking to drive even greater value from your efforts (and strip out unnecessary complexity in the process) - Join me for one and a half days on Leading Valuable Change. You will learn how to:
Create and protect organisational momentum
Unlock meaningful continuous improvement through story-driven learning
Lead the deep complex areas of project, change and benefits management - with needing to be an expert in any of them
Rescue those teams and staff stuck in Despair
Level up your high performers into Fanatics
Find the hidden Internal-Influencers© across your organisation
Answer the 3 most important questions that underpin every successful change
Stack the Value-Equation© in your favour to minimise resistance and maximise adoption.
These sessions are not yet advertised anywhere, and the price will increase when they are. The extreme early-bird special price for the one and a half days is $1,599 per person. The locations and times are still TBC, but the planned schedule is looking as follows:
Canberra - Feb 2022
Sydney - Mar 2022
Melbourne - Apr 2022
To make use of this extreme early-bird offer, just hit reply to this email and we will get you booked in.
2022 is going to continue to be a year of immense opportunity and change.
Make sure you’re optimally placed to make it valuable.
As always, I hope you have a great weekend. You deserve it.
See you next week.