It is several years ago in my case, but it is still often found in organizations. Many colleagues attended a two-day intensive B2B sales training. Of course, it should help with sales numbers and increase turnover. It was also designed to promote transparency of opportunities and risks, collaboration among colleagues and enable better sales forecasts. Besides the F2F training, it was also based on software, a tool.
It was not easy for the organization to decide to introduce the tool. The decision-makers knew that salespeople all over the world had to use the tool to achieve the desired results. So the training courses were extensive and global. It was a good opportunity to exchange information about the way of selling. Everyone who had the training came back excited and convinced. They said that it was great training and a very useful tool. They hoped to use it soon.
But the enthusiasm did not last very long. The first signs of declining enthusiasm became clear. Sales managers started asking their colleagues to enter the opportunities and risks into the software tool. As long as the manager asked for it and sales reps got extra points for the annual bonus it worked. But the sales reps knew that their input into the tool was irrelevant for their future sales success. Their success depended more on the relationship they maintained with their customers. Over time the tool was being used less and less and nobody talked about it anymore.
Perhaps you have similar experiences. A new initiative, a new tool or a transformation project should bring a breakthrough for the organization. Perhaps you see that you only mobilize a few employees. The arguments are logical, understandable and the change is necessary for the organization. Maybe you even wrap the reasoning for the new initiative in a good story to be motivational and provide the initial impetus to your colleagues. Perhaps you act as a role model and help other employees to adjust to the change.
Unfortunately, change initiatives often take this end. It is true that there are a few colleagues who embrace the change. Most people, act more as spectators or even as a bystander, who are, in principle, open to new ideas. But, they must first see that other colleagues are moving forward with the change. They need this signal as confirmation because they prefer to go with the masses.
Three things are important in such a situation:
1 - Use stories
Stories give the necessary impetus besides the facts. They provide motivation through the emotions they transport. Let employees tell about their learning journey. This can inspire others and induce them to go on the journey. Understanding and emotions complement each other through the use of stories.
2- Start with a few but influential colleagues
Start with a few but influential colleagues. Ignore the masses for the time being: The few early colleagues believe in the need for change. They sacrifice energy in the form of time and resources to get the project moving. The masses are looking for these pioneers. Seeing the pioneers in action creates the acceptance to change by the masses.
3 - explore the prevailing mindset
At the same time, explore the prevailing mindset in your organization. This attitude of mind is the root cause of the behavior. With the help of stories, pictures and questions the attitude about the intended change come to light. See if this attitude is a hindrance, a limitation or an openness to new things. If the attitude is more limiting (which is very likely), replace it with an open one. Then create an environment that supports adoption to the new mindset (by using personal, social and structural influences on motivation and abilities, key behavioral patterns and also goals and metrics).
Showing new behavior or adopting a new mindset is difficult in old environments. To give you an example, by telling yourself: "I need to lose 10kg" or "I want to lose 10kg by the end of May". Better choose a new identity and say to yourself "I am a sporty guy". Would a sporty guy carry around an extra of 10kg permanently? What does an athletic guy do? What does he surround himself with?
Use the change processes and give the employees a megaphone. Let them report about their journey and experiences in stories. By identifying with the "heroes" of the story, other colleagues create access to their own emotional life. By immersing themselves in a story, colleagues can virtually witness how the heroes experience the change. For them, it is a mental test for dealing with their own emotions in the change situation.
It is important that feelings are also discussed in the stories. Only then can the story unfold its effect. Also, the storytellers will have a good feeling for the interests and emotional needs of their colleagues. Telling stories promotes self-perception and emotional intelligence. This fosters the corporate culture, strengthens the bond and trust within the team and maintains employee health. Positive effects on productivity and innovative strength follow.