In Change We Trust: The Power of Storytelling

Photo courtesy of Sales Training Connection

The experience of dealing with change comes with a wide array of human cognition and behaviors. The magnitude of the change is directly proportional to the wide array of human cognition and behaviors — The larger and more profound the change, the larger and more profound the display of thoughts and actions regarding it.

Underpinning these thoughts and actions about dealing with change is a basic level of trust. Several questions arise as unknown change components circle our nexus of trust. Is this change set up to achieve its desired outcomes? Will this change benefit me? Will this change hurt me? When does the change start? When does the change end?

A good story addresses these, if not more, questions and concerns about change. As much as I like widely adopted change management frameworks, they are mostly useful to operationalize enterprise-wide projects and programs. Frameworks should be grounded in well-written and digestible stories about change.

If the change is about modernizing processes and systems, tell the story about how it is designed to eliminate mundane and repetitive tasks so employees can focus on strategic assignments.

If the change is about partnering with another organization to achieve common business goals, tell the story about how it is designed to enable employees to seek potential growth opportunities in a new structure.

If change is about moving employees from permanent offices to shared workstations, tell the story about how it is designed to maximize employee flexibility and collaboration.

Good stories can begin to align stakeholders who are impacted by profound change, especially when they are experiencing it in many different ways. You don’t need to be like J.K.Rowling or Jhumpa Lahiri to write good stories. As a change management and communications expert, simply put yourself in the minds and hearts of others. What will THEY want to hear from you and will you explain it to THEM?