Appetite in transformations


In any given transformation process, individually or within an organization, it is essential for you to focus on the crucial topics to be successful. Metaphorically speaking, there are many impacted people that have a lot of “hunger” that needs to be satisfied.
I hereby invite you to read more about the categories that I have found useful (working as a change facilitator) and to use this input to reflect on your own current challenges.

Nowadays, many change professionals start analyzing a transformation asking for the specific needs of participating and impacted individuals or groups. Ask yourself: What impacted group has which specific needs? Be as detailed as possible with upcoming answers. Get input from others for helpful answers (you may want to use a sounding board).

Between forces
In the last century, Kurt Lewin has created the concept of force fields that drag an impacted individual to either of two opposite directions. The one force field drags the individual to the present and stresses the good aspects of the present (“What was good in the past will be good in the future”). The other force field drags the individual to the future and stresses the good aspects of a potential future state (“What was good in the past will not be good enough in the future”).

To analyse these forces ask:

  • What arguments are in favour of keeping the present (and resist to any changes)?
  • What arguments are in favour of the change and the future solution/state?

Great change facilitators succeed in considering taboos and fears that impacted members may have or suffer from during a transformation. Do not hesitate to analyse potential fears of groups.
Ask yourself: What could it be that they fear the most during the change? What is it that they want to avoid at great costs? Use the upcoming answers for follow-up communication. Be transparent and pro-actively show that you are willing to address “the elephant in the room” and may have ideas for solutions that the majority of impacted people can benefit from.

At the other end of the emotional spectrum you focus – instead of fear – on the desires of your impacted individuals and groups: What they hope for and positively expect. Reflect on the “big emotional topics” that they long for and they may gain from the transformation.
Ask yourself: What big desire maybe (better) fulfilled once the change is achieved? As with arguments that you have collected during thinking about fears of your target group use output of this exercise for follow-up communication. You may want to create a vision design to give direction and emotional attraction.

Lost & Found
Beam yourself into a typical metro central station. They usually have a lost & found office. This is a suitable background for questions that you could use to reflect on further requirements of your target groups and individuals during the change.
Ask yourself:

  • What could they in particular lose during the change or once it is completed?
  • What could they gain (find) as a consequence of the change?

Once you have found answers on these lost/found questions you, of course, need to develop ideas on what to do with these findings. What needs to be done to communicate and compensate the losses? And what needs to be done to promote and benefit from the findings/gainings?

In any given change always start asking the “big questions” first.
Feel inspired by the above listed five categories to derive your own reliable set of HUNGER questions.

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