Engage to Change: Leading change requires focus in three areas

Home » Engage to Change: Leading change requires focus in three areas

Why is it that many change initiatives are more stressful, time consuming and ineffective than they should be?

Successful change requires the leader to engage the Head, the Heart and the Feet of employees in order to achieve lasting, significant change.

A great book that discusses this topic in an entertaining and informative way is Switch: How to change things when change is hard by Chip and Dan Heath.

A reminder that more and more leadership clips are available on our YouTube channel: http://youtube.com/uniquetrainingvideos

Engage to Change

Change is constant and accelerating. The only thing we can be certain about is uncertainty. And we need to get used to it.

As a leader, the impact you bring to your organization is by facilitating change and creating change-readiness in yourself and your team.

To lead change more effectively, think about how you will engage people at the Head, Heart and Feet level:

Head: At the head level, people need to understand the logical reason change is required and have a clear understanding of what they specifically need to do in order to change.

Engage the Head: Give the reason for the change and tell people specifically what they need to do. This is not the time for complex models and ambiguous goals. Clarify and simplify so people understand.

Heart: At the heart level, people need to feel the motivation to change. They gotta wanna. This involves reaching them at an emotional level. Existing habits are hard to break and people don’t generally have the necessary will power. Your head may tell you not to eat those chips because you want to lose weight but your lack of will power can easily overcome the logic.

Engage the Heart:  Give people a sense that they are already part of the way towards success instead of starting at ground zero. Remind them of past successes and encourage them that they are bigger than the change. Make the change itself smaller so that it doesn’t feel as overwhelming. By making the person feel bigger and the change smaller, they are more likely to succeed.

Feet: At the Feet level, we want to make the path as easy as possible for people to change. If we remove obstacles and make the path towards change easier, the change will happen quicker, with less resistance.

Engage the Feet: Create tools, checklists, systems, etc that support the change. You also want to make the existing habits harder to continue. A good example of this is freezing your credit card in a block of ice to avoid over spending or not having tempting junk food in the house when you are dieting.

The best change strategy is to combine all three elements in a powerful trifecta.

Reflection Question

Are you providing people with the logical, emotional and logistical means to accomplish your desired change?

Action Items

  • Select a current or future change initiative.
  • List the logical reasons for the change and specifically what you want people to do differently.
  • Make people stronger by showing them they are already on the way and that what you are asking from them isn’t really that overwhelming.
  • Remove any systemic obstacles and create support tools that help them move in the direction you desire.
  • Watch how much faster, easier and less stressful your next change initiative will be.