2. Bridge current and future state
”If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”
Why it matters?
Why do changes fail? One of the key reasons why changes fail has nothing to do with intent. Changes fail because we take a far too superficial approach - we fail to explain who and what behaviors need to change.
One of the reasons why it’s so tempting to opt for the superficial approach has to do with how our own brains work.
Let’s explore this through the lens of Nobel prize winner Daniel Kahneman and his research about system 1 and 2.
Put simply, we have two decision systems running at all times. System 1 is the brain's automatic, intuitive, and unconscious thinking mode. It requires little energy or attention, but it is often bias-prone. System 1 is more influential and guides our day-to-day decisions. System 2 is a slow, controlled, and analytical method of thinking where reason dominates.
Change requires a lot of System 2 energy. We have very limited System 2 energy and as a change catalyst, it is our responsibility to use this energy as effectively as possible.
If a change looks too easy to be true, then it probably is. Avoid the assumption that change is simple.
How it works
Bridge current and future state
It’s not enough to have a grand vision and a clear direction, the path to get there needs to be clarified too. A “why”, without a plausible approach - “how”, leaves people nonplussed and unmotivated.
First, envision the future and create an ideal and unique image of what the organization can become – have a strong vision and a clear direction.
Second, create clarity on priorities most crucial for business success, to ensure focus. Even better, kill some projects altogether. This creates capacity to change. Make keeping focus a continuous effort, in some cases even on a daily basis
A good way to bridge current and future state is by designing a simple story of the change journey that can be easily shared.
Finally, make sure that critical behavior shifts are measurable and specific.
Enable others to act
Accelerate and fuel the ongoing change in organizations by being consistent and resolute in enabling others to act.
Stick to your guns
Others will follow your lead. During the change journey, expect the unexpected - but keep your direction.
“Thinking, fast and slow”, Kahneman Daniel, Farrar Straus Giroux, 2011
“I'm afraid Debbie from marketing has left for the day - How to Use Behavioral Design to Create Change in the Real WorldBook”, Münster Morten, Laurence King Publishing, 2021
“Drive -The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us”, Pink Daniel H, 2011, Riverhead Books
ADKAR – A model for change