Bob Schultek
Author of The Gauntlet

Leaders and change are inseparable. Whether reacting to a threatening external challenge or proactively disrupting the status quo to improve performance, leaders realize that people do not readily embrace change; initially, there will be uncertainty, disruption, fear and discomfort among those you lead when change is on the table. 

But leaders also recognize these emotions as necessary ingredients in a change initiative. When paired with a clear, thorough understanding of projected benefits, they can be leveraged to focus energy, to encourage perseverance, and to achieve the commitment and shared ownership required for change to be successfully implemented. 

Cultivating an appreciation of benefits within your team to motivate change is best accomplished by using a story. If all you share is data when introducing the initiative, it will just sound like noise; there’s no emotion in it. People have a very limited capacity to absorb data without a supporting narrative. But once you wrap your ideas, features, benefits and effort into a story, it generates empathy and becomes information that enables action. 

The most effective stories describe triumphs over trouble, departures from the past, doing what has never been done, or going where no one has ever been. Every story is about challenge and change. 

Using stories to convert data into actionable information is a proven, effective and powerful way for you, and your team, to educate, motivate and drive change. 

What tools have worked for you to motivate change?

How might stories better stimulate your team to act on change?