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Can you manufacture your burning platform?

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Can you manufacture your burning platform?

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Back in 2012 Forrester produced a report looking at the implementation side of social business.  The title, The Road to Social Business Starts with a Burning Platform, gives away the central thesis of the report.  They contend that the best motivation for change, such as that with the shift to a social business, comes out of a crisis.

Whilst the report has merit, it’s probably fair to say that you don’t want to wait around for a crisis before you make such a shift.  There’s a decent amount of evidence to suggest that by that time, it’s often too late.  Of course, you don’t have to wait until the flames are lapping at your feet before you act.

Whilst a major crisis has an emotional attraction, what is really needed is a sense that the status quo is not delivering what is needed for the organization.  This dissatisfaction with the current norm has to be delivered not just on an intellectual level, but on an emotional one.  It will jolt employees out of the auto-pilot they may be operating on and cause them to look afresh at what they do and why they do it.

Here are a few steps you can take before things reach crisis point, that might still galvanize employees.

  1. Look for evidence that a crisis is both looming and inevitable if you maintain your current course
  2. Make sure that this looming crisis is a credible one
  3. Use simple and clear messages to communicate this crisis
  4. Create a vision for employees that provokes an emotional reaction
  5. Offer up your plan on how to resolve the pending crisis
  6. Ensure that your senior team is committed to the change
  7. Both expect resistance to your plan, and have steps to overcome that resistance

It’s easy to believe that you can muddle through with incremental changes, that moving slowly away from the status quo will be good enough.  There is plenty of evidence from failed change management projects to suggest that isn’t the case. You’re looking to create both a credible reason to change, and to assuage some of the anxiety that will inevitably accompany suggestions of change.

The above tips can help you create the emotional energy required to change behaviours in the workplace.  You can then use the 8 levers outlined in my book to help implement that change.

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