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Change Management: Inspiring Through Communicating Vision

Posted by EmployeeChannel on 7.20.2017

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Change management experts have created a wide variety of change management models (as mentioned in our last blog). Many models emphasize the importance of casting visions of the change you want to make and devising a communication plan to get there.

In his Ted Talk titled “How Great Leaders Inspire Action,” renowned author and marketing consultant Simon Sinek looks at how successful companies create legions of followers.

Starbucks, for example, made drinking coffee at a coffee shop an experience. Drinking coffee at Starbucks made you part of that cool experience and, by extension, made YOU cool.

Sinek also discusses the why -- not the how -- of an action because “people don't buy what you do; they buy why you do it.”EC - Change Management- Inspiring Through Communicating Vision1.png

This premise may seem to directly challenge the best change management strategies. After all, change management requires a change management PLAN, which is HOW you’ll engage others to make a change and what teams need to DO to get there.

Sinek asserts that truly inspirational leaders explain the why first, casting a vision that resonates at an emotional level. As HR leaders, how can we cast a vision of why and inspire our people to make behavior changes?

Let’s examine how to communicate a shared vision for a few common organizational changes.

Mergers & Acquisitions

This is the classic example of where change management is needed. Uniting two separate and distinct cultures can be one of the most challenging aspects of driving organizational change.

Work with your management team to identify and isolate the common ground of your teams, such as converging around a shared corporate vision. Your business competition, or perceived “common enemy,” is a great place to start.

When you look deeper, creating a vision of crushing the competition “together” can unite two separate cultures toward a common goal, thereby helping to drive change.

Culture Shift

Organizational culture grows organically over time. Your executive staff may set the stage for the type of driven, laser-focused employees they want; however, the employees in your company determine whether or not this culture sticks.  

Appeal to people’s inclination to think “rebels are cool, and I want to be cool” by challenging the status quo. People who love to challenge the status quo will be more comfortable with doing something different rather than “the way we’ve always done things here.”

Embracing New Technology

Your company made a heavy investment in new technology, which means your employees must learn and adopt a new way of working. Changing an employee’s day-to-day operations can be met with resentment and opposition.

Show how technology changes our lives in and out of work by describing technology the way bleeding-edge tech leaders do. Tell stories about why you intend to change the world, how technology will enable the company get there, and how they are all a part of the story.


Our role as HR leaders in facilitating change in organizations is very broad. We must learn to take the next step in leadership by leading with a vision that resonates at an emotional level with our teams. Once they’re on board with why, our employees will figure out the how themselves.

Topics: internal communications, employee communication, change management

Human Resources Today