Strong reasons make strong action

I discovered a quote on the tag of a teabag. “Strong reasons make strong actions” it said.

This is a principle of change management, from the Shakespeare play “King John” at the end of Act 3.

If we are going to make change happen, we must know what we intend to achieve and why. This is profound and difficult. The MD of a part of one of my clients told me she wanted to grow the division. Grow what, exactly, I asked, and why is growth a good thing? She thought that growth was so evidently a Good Thing that it did not need to be justified. Yet for people in her division, growth did need to be justified. They didn’t want growth. They we OK as they were. The fact that their MD had been set growth targets from on high was not, for them, adequate justification for making any changes.
As she struggled to state the “strong reason” for the “strong action” she was requesting from her staff, she found herself saying that the division would either grow or die.

  • Growth meant that her division would attract higher investment from the corporation, enabling greater opportunities for her people.
  • Growth meant higher bonuses, not this year, but next.

So there were strong reasons. Now she had to tell people.

One of the most powerful things you can do in any change programme is to state, honestly, the objective of the change: why this change is needed. Why are we doing this? How will it help the business make more money, save costs, or make the staff happy? If it doesn’t do any of these things, why are we doing it?

Why don’t people state their reasons?

I’m interested to know why reasons are not declared. Is it because they are not known?

If you are involved in a change programme, is the reason evident?



Categories: Communicating Change, The process of business change

Reply or comment:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s