Use Storytelling to Get Buy-In for Organizational Change…

When tackling urgent organizational problems—for example, a broken culture or a product that needs updating—you need more than a strategic plan. You also need a compelling story that will motivate your entire team to work toward a common goal. Here’s how to craft it.

  • Simplify your message. When you think about the change you want to lead, ask yourself: Can I capture my vision on a page? A paragraph? A word? Your first task is to craft the equivalent of a short letter to your team explaining your vision.
  • Honor the past. Acknowledge the good parts of your team’s history. Make it clear that you intend to preserve what already works, and show sensitivity toward the people who aren’t so sure about your plans.
  • Articulate a mandate for change. Reflect on the “why” of your plan. What problem are you trying to solve? What’s the cost of not solving it? Your answers must be persuasive enough to override people’s familiar beliefs and behaviors.
  • Lay out a path forward. Establish goals and targets. Get comfortable with the numbers and pick a few to use as plot points in your story. And be prepared to repeat yourself, wherever the opportunity arises: in presentations, town hall meetings, team huddles, and one-on-ons. Frequent communication will help your team internalize your change story.

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