Last week, we discussed the first two steps of Dr. John Kotter’s Change Management Process: creating urgency and building a guiding coalition. This week we will point our attention steps three and four. Specifically, within this post we’ll look at step three: forming the strategic vision and initiatives. Jack Welch once stated, “good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentless drive it to completion,.” Change management can be one of the best or worst experiences. The purpose of this post is to discuss and analyze best practices to develop the strategic vision and initiatives.
What is a change in vision? According to Dr. John Kotter, Harvard Business School Professor and Entrepreneur, every successful change management project has a clear change vision. A change vision is simply what the organization, department, product or service will look like after the specific changes have occurred. A change vision is the picture of the desired state the change will bring to the organization. The concept helps to connect essential steps and actions that need to happen to make the outcome a reality. Furthermore, the change vision statement should be easy to understand. Simply put, an entry level employee to CEO of the company should have a clear and solid understanding of the change vision.
How is a change vision created? The best practices associated with creating a robust change vision include: easy to understand, easy to deliver via written and verbal communications, intellectually strong and has emotional appeal. Creating the vision that is easy to understand is pivotal. The message should make sense, is specific, and people can truly see and connect with the where we are today and where we will be after the change. The delivery of the vision message is essential. If done via writing it should be no more than half a page. If done verbally, it should be no more than sixty seconds. The substance of the message needs to be intellectually robust and have emotional appeal. Intellectually robust means that the vision makes sense and is logical. The audience can see the relevancy for the change and that the process of going from the current state to the proposed state makes sense. The emotional appeal ties into the energy associated with the proposed change. The objective is that the change appeals and sets the ground for the essential buy-in of the change initiatives. Feeling optimistic and excited about the change is going to help move the change forward from a concept to a reality. The more positive and eager the audience is about the change, the more likely the change will be carried out, and the vision becomes the reality.
What are change initiatives? Next, clear change initiatives are designed. The change initiatives are simply the actions required to get from point A to Z. The steps may vary organization to organization due to the nature of proposed changes, change agents, resources, and many other reasons. The change initiatives need to align with the change vision. The change proposed not only makes sense, but the actions to implement and sustain that change does as well. Creating the initiatives can be done with an internal coalition and external talent (i.e. change management consultants) to help identify, craft, and deliver the specific actions. Furthermore, the more specific and customized the initiatives are for change agents, the more likely the proposed actions will be received, implemented and maintained.
In conclusion, the creating and communicating the change vision and initiatives are essential to the change management process. Through active preparation, the vision and initiatives should be clear, precise, and described. The vision and actions must align. The delivery of the communication may vary. However, the outcome of the communication should be easily understood, intellectually robust, and have emotional appeal. The establishment of the vision and initiatives aids management in the next step of enlisting an “army” of volunteers that are ready, excited, and see the urgency of implementing the change initiatives. My next post will cover Step 4- Enlisting an Army of Volunteers. Stay tuned. For more information about crafting a marketing change vision and efforts feel free to reach out to our team at Viral Solutions.
Thanks for reading and have a delightful day.
by Katie Doseck, PhD MBA
Chief Visionary and Strategic Ace Up Your Sleeve | Viral Solutions LLC
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