Being more human to make change happen
Look around you today and you will probably notice that quality and speed of execution
is often what helps competitors win. This is especially true of those new players who come and
mess up your category and steal market share, such as Ella’s Kitchen in babyfood.
Incumbent players may well have the same ideas as these more agile start-ups, but they're often slower to turn strategy into action. As a team leader, getting yourself motivated should be pretty easy. But making others embrace your new strategy and make it happen? That's another story. Here a few
tips on how to help you turn your strategy into action.
Think of your team as ‘human beings’ rather than ‘brand
more work will be needed from me to make this happen?"
"How will this new
strategy help me with my career?"
"Does it make my job more interesting or less
These are the kinds of
questions going through the heads of team members as they get involved
in implementing new strategies. So, if you want to make your strategy
happen, take this human factor into account and spend time discussing the human benefits for those involved.
The Elephant and the Rider
In their book Switch,
Dan and Chip Heath use the metaphor of the Elephant and the Rider to
explain how behaviour change happens – or not!
The idea is that we
have an emotional side (the Elephant) and a rational side (the Rider), but
those too often disagree. To make change happen, the Rider and the Elephant both need to both work together. But in most cases the Elephant controls the Rider and not the other way round. And the Elephant, the sort of darker side of yourself, is also pretty lazy, gets distracted and gives up easily.
That’s why most of us who want to get up at 5:45 AM to go
for a run (the Rider) stay in bed instead (the Elephant)!
Motivate the Elephant
So, f you
want to "switch" people and change their behaviour to embrace new strategies, don't only direct the Rider, but also motivate the Elephant.
For example, when you communicate a new strategy, don't make it too scary. ‘Switch’ recommends you may need to
‘shrink change’ and explain that ‘it’s not a big deal’ to make it happen, so
that people don't feel paralysed by the scope of change. For example, everyone's been telling us to eat 5 fruit and vegetables a day. It seems we may actually need not 5 but 7 sorts of fruit and veg a day, but that’s been dropped out of health campaigns: Way too discouraging for the lazy Elephant inside of us!
You can also find
existing "hero" products or initiatives, ‘on-strategy’ things that the team is already doing, and explore how to expand them and make more of them.
In conclusion, be realistic about the goals that you want others to achieve and you’ll have a better chance of motivating the Elephant and making things happen.