Change – Reducing Resistance & Gaining Buy-In With the Five W & One H Model!

SERIES: Part Two of a Four-Part Article

Before you post your next announcement, send mail or e-mail, leave a voicemail message or communicate directly with another person about your next policy change, new product or simply change an initiative, consider what the other party may be thinking under their breath.

Leaders who effectively administer change and create environments conducive to change advocates can defer to a simple “check list”.  This list can be checked mentally, when preparing change issues for presentation, and physically, as a facilitating template for change.

Ensure that you appropriately address to each personality involved the following factors:

  1. Who. These factors call into action the four core decision-makers (financial, technical, user, advocate) and authority figures.

  2. What. These factors call into action the core immediate, medium and long-term goals, objectives and needs.

  3. When. These factors call into action the final deadline and any interval deadlines or commitments.

  4. Where. These factors deal with the geography, locale and environmental issues.

  5. Why. These factors deal with the reasoning, logic and importance of the “WHAT Factor”.

  6. How. These factors deal with the procedures, legalities, ethics, costs and ways in which something could be done or not done.

Any item not addressed may become the impetus behind others’ lack of attention, interest and commitment (BUY-IN) and the stimulus to passive-aggressive behaviors. It is these behaviors that may cause the implosion of an otherwise easily implemented change initiative!

Each of the Five W and One H factors serve as a reference point for a series of subsequent questions and checkpoints that can be drawn out of each. Your ability to hold yourself accountable for ensuring that each is referenced thoroughly in the planning stage will dramatically impact the level of excellence that comes out of the implementation stage!

I am reminded of a recent speaking experience I had at a Fortune 500 Leadership Institute. The theater was packed with engineers and mid-level managerial-leaders from around the World. While the audience feedback was explosive, I am sure I will not be invited back. I addressed why “their firm” is getting eaten in the marketplace – a subject with which the senior leaders were not impressed!

While there are presently tens of billions of dollars cashed and in the bank in escrow, with a competing company, for orders for a similar, sleeker, more cost effective commercial version of what they produce (which “they” do not produce) and tens of billions of dollars cashed and in the bank in escrow, with the competing company, for private consumer versions (which “they” do not produce), this company refuses to change. Even though it is reported that it will take the competing company years to produce and fulfill these orders, this client continues in its primary division – attempting to make and sell a product the market no longer can justify.

The market has CHANGED, and the power players don’t want to run the Five W and One H model, as they will learn they must evolve to remain viable. The student of market analysis and the managerial-leader will be able to watch another major firm implode if it does not embrace change.

Success in dealing with change, and even crafting the level of success

individuals may have, can be taken directly from an explosive statement from

ice hockey legend, Wayne Gretsky.

“I don’t skate to where the puck is, I skate to where the puck is going to be!”

Do you use a template to ensure your planning and implementation of change is successful? Do you have an easy system for stimulating critical thoughts and questions to ensure you anticipate change initiatives and meet them effectively?  If not, consider this simple and easy Five W and One H model, compliments of the elementary school teacher from your past!

-Dr Jeff Magee
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