Case for Change Part 3: Reinforcement

So you’ve created context, communicated clearly about the why, what and WIIFM of the change, and inspired your team with a glimpse at the bright future ahead while also being realistic about what it takes to get there. Your Case for Change is nearly complete, as you’re ready to move into reinforcement of the change.

Here are some of the elements of reinforcement:

  • Trust. Are you trustworthy? There have been many statements about how you have to repeat something over and over in order for it to stick (5-7 times seems to be the magic number). While that is true, there’s an essential element that comes before repetition. If you do not have trust, it doesn’t matter how often you repeat something. When you are leading change, building trust is critical.
  • Confidence – explain why you as the leader believe that this change can be successfully completed. This is an opportunity to “connect the dots,” reminding people of how you’ve done this before and it all worked out (or why it’s going to be different than the last time you tried!). This is a chance to inspire and motivate by sharing your unwavering belief in the listener, the change, and the purpose of your organization.
  • Expectations – what role does the listener play in the change? What are your expectations for their involvement and support of the change?
  • Commitment – share specifics of how you and the rest of the leadership team supports the change. All successful change is due to excellent change leadership. It’s critical to make a public commitment to the change and then walk your talk.

Message consistency throughout a change is incredibly important. By creating the Case for Change and being able to refer to it as a baseline, leaders can ensure that they stay on point and don’t create confusion by varying their messages. The other benefit is that this structure forces you to put into words all the things about the change that you intuitively know but do not always articulate!

Use the Case for Change described over the last few Tips (refer to Part 1 and Part 2) to make sure that you don’t overlook a key element of the change story.

For more tools to support you as you lead change, check out the Change Leader Toolkit. In three easy steps you can ensure that you are being effective in leading successful change.

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