That’s as much an observation about people as it is about physics. If there are no outside forces, then nothing changes. Sometimes the ‘key’ to change is nothing more than making people aware of the outside forces. One of the downsides of the status quo is that it lulls us into a false sense of security and we need to be shaken awake in order to change.
What Problems exist in Status Quo?
Nothing is ever perfect, that includes the current status quo. The imperfections in the status quo, create points of leverage that can help move a change forward. What is it about the current situation that has been a well known hindrance in the past? How dissatisfied is the target audience with the status quo? What exactly causes that dissatisfaction? If you don’t know the answer, ask the target audience - they do, in great, exacting, painful detail.
What are the alternatives?
What alternatives are there to the current status quo? There is always more than one way to do things. Why did we choose this particular status quo? What other options did we have? What other options can we create? Does it really matter, in the long run, which option we choose? If not, if they are all relatively equal, why can’t the target audience choose which one they should move to?
What are personal Benefits to Changing?
Just as there are always problems with the current status quo, there will also be benefits in any new situation. It’s a useful exercise to help the target audience to list those personal benefits.
What problems would Change Solve?
Will the change being proposed solve existing problems? How? If not, why not? It is a mistake to think everyone involved in the change sees all the benefits of the change. It’s perhaps a tedious task to list the benefits, it’s also very beneficial to those who may not fully understand all the implications of the change. It’s difficult to communicate enough during change; it’s impossible to communicate ‘too much’.
What core values would Change reinforce?
What, out of everything the current status quo provides, will be reinforced by the proposed change? This is another way of communicating what will stay the same, only more so. This is surprisingly, a very powerful bit of information. People need stability, and knowing what won’t change in the coming months will offer more solace in the face of chaos than you might expect.
What opportunities would Change Create?
Change is not just about escaping problems in the existing status quo. It should also be about creating an environment of new opportunities. Do not assume the target audience can see those opportunities without being told, informed, communicated to etc. The primary task of the Change Inflictor is one of a communicator. Informing and re-informing people of what is going on and why.
© 2015 Peter de Jager – Reprinted with Permission