By Otie Hauser, &samhoud consultancy
Once upon a time…We can still remember these four words from back when our parents used to tell us a bedtime story. We would listen excitedly and attentively to a story containing a moral and an educational lesson that inspired us to grow into adulthood. Now that we are adults, the stories appear to have disappeared. But why? Do we no longer require inspiration as adults? Of course we do!
Change is the only constant in the story. We are confronted with changes more than ever in our professional lives. Changes that are dictated by politics or legislation, changes due to economics or internal, organisational reasons. Our lives and the organisations we work in are certainly not standing still. We often hear motivational words from leaders about everything that needs to be changed. Managers and employees frequently lose sight of the relationship between an organisation’s vision and the change. Organisations whose managers and employees are familiar with the vision and change enjoy a 29% increase in profits compared to other companies*. But how do you make this possible? An inspiring Change Story can provide a solution.
What is a Change Story?
A Change Story is a tale from and about an organisation that consistently expresses where the organisation is at that moment, its ambition and what is required to make this ambition a reality. It also offers an insight into what this means for both the storyteller and the listener, which brings it to life for all concerned.The purpose of a Change Story is to make the change concrete and allow it to live. The why, what and how of the change process is made clear to the listener. Images and experiences are shared in an inspiring way and translated specifically to the work situation. A Change Story provides inspiration and creates energy among managers and employees based on a sense of excitement and/or urgency to implement the change successfully. We use the following guiding questions in the development of a Change Story:
• Where have we come from and where are we now?
• What is the reason for change and why do we want that?
• Where are we heading?
• What will change for customers, employees, finances and society?
• How will everyone contribute and what will that personally entail for each person?
But there is still a long way to go after answering the questions above. It is about how you tell the story, whether it is ‘authentic’ and feels ‘authentic’. It is important for the storyteller to actually feel connected to the organisation’s vision so that he or she can convey the Change Story in an inspiring manner. Inspiring is not the same as motivating.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines these words as follows:
• in|spire (verb)
1. Fill (someone) with the urge or ability to do or feel something, especially to do something creative
2. (inspire someone with) Animate someone with (a feeling)
• mo¦tiv|ate (verb)
1. Provide (someone) with a reason for doing something
2. Cause (someone) to have interest in or enthusiasm for something
In short, I wish to define the difference between inspiring and motivating as ‘focusing attention’. Inspiration involves devoting attention to another to help someone take a step further and convey enthusiasm. Motivation entails attracting attention to yourself, as it were, and the desire to take a step further so that you get something done. When people are only motivated, many external stimuli are needed (bonuses or additional remuneration) to get them involved in the change process.
So leaders take note! Fan the flame within people with the help of an inspiring Change Story; a good, well-balanced, well-thought-out and inspirational story, told by the leader in person. A story in which facts are central, but with a personal dimension and room for emotions.
&samhoud helps numerous organisations with the development of a Change Story; an exceptionally wonderful process. By developing a personal story that lives within the entire organisation, the specified goals become personal and this creates connection. Through experiencing the story, coaching and practice, we accentuate the content and encourage inspiration among leaders. People themselves are the best storytellers. We help get the story out by creating connection, penetrating until the core and bringing peoples’ deep convictions to the surface.
• Watson Wyatt Work Study, 2002*
• Creating Lasting Value, 2013
• Lean tenminste houdbaar tot, 2013