Three Factors for Creating a Sense of Urgency for Change

A burning platform, a vision and making it easy

Key Takeaway

Three things you can consider to help create a sense of urgency for change as you strive to become more agile.

2015 was a volatile year in most industries and 2016 is shaping up much the same. Organisations continue to look at ways to become more agile and adaptive whilst retaining value.

How do you create the urgency for change in your people?

However, changes through initiatives and projects are far more complex today because of challenging levels of employee engagement (62 percent) and employee experience levels having dropped (as much as 28 percent in 2015)(1).

How do you create the urgency for change in your people?


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Can we define the burning platform?

Typically, reinvigorating change requires us to define the burning platform for our people. We explain the reasons we need to change and what happens if we don’t. With a third of employees struggling to engage, this is becoming a harder sell. We can motivate through early conversation and explain the consequences but often, employees feel that so much is out of their control and ask ‘what’s in that for me?’.

Are we able to paint a vision?

Painting a picture of a more desirable future or a vision that really gets the employees excited can be a good motivator for change. Focusing on benefits in terms of employee growth opportunities and recognition opportunities can help get people onboard.

Can we show that change is attainable ?

You’ve achieved the trifactor  when you have the first two above and people can see that change is neither hard nor impossible but attainable in a few steps; this reduces the fear of the unknown. Adapting people’s performance targets early helps and de-risks some of the resistance.

The Trifactor  = burning platform x desired vision x ease of change (2)

The Portfolio of Change

Of course, the Portfolio Manager or PMO (Portfolio Management Office) often support a wide range of changes and/or projects, with a range of burning platforms, desired futures and change plans. These are not always congruent either.

One of the skills then, of today’s PMO leader, is to not only check that there is a business case but to help Sponsors and Project Managers find the factors to increase the urgency of change – thus, the drivers for the business case – and possibly find their trifactor.

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Headline image courtesy  Steve Carter@unsplash.com

(1) Aon’s 2015 Trends in Global Employee Engagement
(2) The Change Formula, Beckhard and Harris, 1987


There is 1 comment

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  1. Manik Sood

    Change is not that easy what is detailed here. I have seen that organization hires operational excellence people who identify opportunities for improvement. Many of them which are related to changing work methods, supervision and control pose higher stress to production in-charge and supervisors and therefore, are not accepted by them. For instance, one changeover at one machine takes 4 hours. It can be done in 1.5 hours with proper system but supervisors do not digest this improvement as it can involve a bit more supervision and increased level of involvement to maintain the better system. I have seen it closely and the question – “what’s in that for me” has an answer: “Stress”.

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