Getting The Story Right

May 7, 2014
 Leading Successful Change, chapter 2.What are the story or stories that you want to characterize your organization after the change you have in mind has succeeded? Develop them in order to define and to focus your efforts and those of your colleagues.

Set the scene. Imagine your business  3, 5, 10 years in the future. How might your account managers interact with production or marketing? How have their roles and actions changed? What caused this change? Is it access to information? Does production behave differently because they have a relationship with customers?  Don’t stop at the executive suite – your most critical change may happen with your ground level personnel.

Delve into the details of the scene. Be specific. Pay particular attention to:

People: How does the change impact their day-to-day work, role in the company – do they care more in the future then they do now? What are they doing differently?

Flow chart: Have a clear and detailed understanding of how each role and step impacts the next – who does what and how each action impacts the next.

Story: Be able to tell the story of a work day of each key role and embrace it as a character actor would. “I am a front desk clerk and see a person approach my desk with a suitcase….”

Props: Create a physical example to show people what this brave new world will look like for them. Perhaps it’s a meeting agenda or a sample report. This physical example will make it much easier to explain the new behaviors necessary in the change process.

Repeat: Now, do this for every key role required for the bold change until you are certain you have identified all the people and roles necessary to drive the change through the whole organization.

When have you created enough scenes? You can use the Pareto principle here — have you depicted the right 20% of scenes that will push the other 80% to follow?

While many will want to rush right into the change process, this detailed and methodical look at roles in your organization is crucial to your ability successfully drive and sustain your bold change. The scenes or stories from the future will help to define and to communicate the change (‘this is what we want it to look like…’) as well as to focus your efforts, particularly redesign based on the eight aspects of work systems/ eight levers of change laid out in Leading Successful Change. (For more on Scene Development, see Chapter 2 of Leading Successful Change)