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How to create the desire for change

Encourage others to embrace change


5 ways to create the desire for change.


Change can only be successful if people accept it. More to the point, change is easier to manage and implement if you can encourage others to initiate and embrace it.

Imposed change can lead it to being ignored, with people carrying on doing things in the old way. You can face resistance and even complete obstruction if you’re unable to bring people along with you. And this can apply to any type of change, big or small. To ease the issues that can be faced at these times give yourself some thinking and planning time.

Think about how the change might possibly be perceived, the reactions of those involved and the role you can play. Focus on how you can help interrupt the thinking of others to encourage a different viewpoint.


Here are five ways you can help others to embrace change;


1. Think about towards and away from motivation

When thinking about managing change it can be useful to understand towards and away from motivation. As it says on the tin, towards motivation is when you have a goal to work towards. When you know what you want. In organisational terms, this might be the culture you want to create. In personal terms, it could be the goal of a new role you want to move into. Both are changes, whether they be at an organisational level or a personal level.

Away from motivation is when you are making a change, because you are moving away from something that is causing pain. You want to move away from the source of the pain. Using the same example this could be the current culture, which is perhaps a blame culture or very competitive. Personally, an away from motivation could be changing jobs because you don’t enjoying working with your current boss or colleagues.

It’s important to acknowledge that if you’re motivated away from something, at some point you need to think about the towards motivation. Otherwise, as the pain gets less you might not keep going, as you don’t have clarity about what you’re moving towards.

Towards and away from motivation can be applied to creating a desire for change. By harnessing both, the desire can be created to move from the current state to a more desired future state.


2. Have the evidence

Start by putting the emphasis on away from motivation. There’ll be a reason for the change and this will be the pain to move away from. It could be, a drop in sales, ineffective processes, decreased output or many other reasons. There’ll be something that isn’t working that’s driving the need for change. Ensure this analysis has been done and that you understand why the change is happening. Build the desire to change by clearly communicating the reason for the change. By presenting the analysis, data, reasons and impact, you want to cause people to think ‘I understand the reason why we can’t stay where we are.’

But, what if you don’t have access to this information? Maybe the analysis was carried out at a different level in the organisation. Maybe the full information hasn’t been made available. What could you possibly do? Before communicating with others make sure you build your knowledge first. Think about:

  • Who has this information?
  • How could you possibly get hold of this information?
  • How does it relate to your part of the organisation?
  • What do you want to cause others to think in passing on this information?


3. Create a burning platform for change

Build on the away from motivation even more. Following communication of the reason for changes, keep pointing out why the organisation can’t stay where it is. Give as much detail as possible. Explain the impact of things staying the same. This could be at an organisational or personal level. Really create a sense of urgency and energy.

If you were on a burning platform, what would you do? Well, if you have any sense you’d get off it as quickly as possible. So, as well as creating a desire for change, it’s about accelerating the change. And, this is important to give you competitive advantage. Moving quicker than others in the marketplace is one of the key things in giving you a competitive edge.

Think about how you could describe the need for change in such a way to create a burning platform. What might possibly create that urgency and energy?


4. Build a compelling picture for change

Once you have established an away from motivation for the change, move onto creating the environment for towards motivation. Help people to see the future. Help people, not to just see the future, but to be excited and hopeful about it. This can be done by creating a vibrant, compelling picture of what the future holds. A picture of what things will be like, what will be different, what will be good about it and the benefits it brings.

It makes it easier for people to be onboard if they know what the future holds. Our observations from working with organisations going through change, are that, sometimes people just don’t ‘get’ the vision. If it’s not been clearly and vividly explained they won’t know whether to be engaged or not.

In our book How to save time and money by managing organisational change effectively we explain that ‘Clarity of future direction’ is essential for change to be successful. You might say this is the job for senior management. However, leaders at all levels can paint this compelling vision. More importantly you can relate it to you and your team. This will make it seem real and relevant.


5. Listen and listen more

Some people will be more towards focused and some more away from focused. And, some people will be both. By listening you’ll be able to work out if one of these motivational traits is more dominant for individuals. Do they talk about problems and what isn’t working? Or do they talk about what they want to achieve and their goals. This then gives you the clues for the language to use and the emphasis when speaking with them.

Keep listening to see where they are in the move to change. Is there a need to concentrate on building the burning platform? Have they started to look to the future and now need to be driven by the compelling vision? You’ll be able to assess this by the way they are talking and what they are talking about. So, listen and listen as the change progresses to ensure the right messages are given at the right time.


These 5 tips for creating the desire for change when combined are extremely powerful.

Knowing where you want to end up is important. However, backing this up with strong reasons for change will give that drive to build the desire to change. Thinking about both in your messages about change ensures that you hit on the motivational traits at an individual level. Also, this will be likely to appeal to a wider audience.


To discover more about managing change take a look at, How to save time and money by managing organisational change effectively.


Here are 3 practical things you can do straightaway to help others embrace change;

  • Think about a change that you want to happen. This could be change at work or it could be a personal change. Just identify it and get it clear in your head.
  • Analyse the current situation and identify the reasons you (or your organisation) can’t stay where you are now. Work out what would be the burning platform to create the desire for change.
  • See the future vision. Create a vivid and compelling picture to drive the change forward. Then decide how to use the burning platform or compelling vision to help manage people through the change.


If you want to know more about how we could work with your organisation to create change, please get in touch with one of the team.

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