Testing Change Readiness with a Peek Ahead

Many times leaders are uncertain whether the board, staff or other key stakeholders are ready for serious change. One way to test their readiness is with an eye-opener.

Think of eye-openers as the gentler, kinder approach to change leadership. These activities help organizations have a sense of foresight that can preserve their sense of control and choices.

Eye-openers can come in a number of forms, depending on the culture of the organization and who needs to be moved into a new state of mind. Here are some options Signature i uses:

  • A scouting workshop where a select group of stakeholders are deputized to analyze a sampling of important trends, issues and new developments and their implications. They identify strategic issues and opportunities for the leaders to consider.
  • Strategic conversations with the leadership that are driven by a set of provocative questions. These are held separate from planning and other decision processes.
  • A future-oriented speech outlining important challenges ahead and explicitly addressing the fears and hopes the listeners may have. This gets what people are feeling out into public dialogue.
  • A warm-up change initiative on a challenge of smaller scale and risk just to give people the skills and experience in leading change. Bigger changes simply build on this learning.
  • Sharing stories about similar organizations and the consequences of their decisions to change. Stories are always more persuasive than data.

Change champions use these activities to get people to just peek over the horizon and contemplate what they might do. Champions get to watch how individuals react, determine who has an appetite for change, and discover where the organization has sufficient energy and inspiration for a successful change.