This is a method in:
1. How to communicate your change so that you get maximum buy-in
2. Help people understand how the change you are bringing about will affect them.
I call this the Four Gates to Possibility
When people are in resistance to a change you want to bring about, normally it’s because they have a fair idea of what the change is about but they don’t yet fully understand how that change is going to affect them. This uncertainty about your change will kill the possibility you are trying to achieve if you do not deal with it properly.
Don’t expect people to jump straight into accepting your change.
Take for example if every year you went to the same camping spot with your family then all of a sudden one year your spouse out of the blue announces you are going somewhere different. Immediately the barriers go up and you are going to be resistant to this unexpected change.
You know now where your new destination is being planned to be, but really you have no idea how this new destination will affect you and as a result, you are highly unlikely to be supportive of this new idea that has suddenly been thrust upon you.
Knowing the destination does not give your team context for how they are affected.
The same feelings are experienced by your staff who are affected by the change you are bringing them. They now know the “destination” but have no real context as to how this new destination is going to affect them and as a result, they are going to be looking for reasons to not change. They are also highly likely to be creating false scenario’s in their minds as to how they envision this change is going to affect them.
Assumptions are going to be rife and how you communicate your possibility to people is going to dramatically influence how effective you are at getting that change across the line!
What we want to do before the rumour mill circulates and you end up with all sorts of wild assumptions about how badly people are going to be affected is start communicating exactly how people really are affected by the change.
How to communicate your change effectively
I call this the four gates to possibility and it is an adaption on motivational interviewing where we call to attention what the change is going to bring to the people affected. This is to help move people out of Denial and Resistance and well into exploration of the change you are trying to bring about.
You can use this tool in workshops, over email or any other form of communication. It’s not restricted to the whiteboard and it gives you a real opportunity to communicate to your team how they are going to be affected. At this point, it is also crucial to get input from the people affected as to what they see the impacts being. The reason why we seek feedback is that it is all part of our fair process model for change (SEE, BE, DO, GET) and people who are engaged in the process and listened to are far more likely to be on board with you.
With everything we do in change leadership and communication, we want it to be as simple as possible to enhance our communication with our teams and ensure that our message is understood. This is why we use only four areas for you to cover.
The four areas we cover are as follows:
1. Things we used to be able to do and CAN still do
2. Things we COULDN’T do before and still CAN’T do
3. Things we could do before but CAN’T do now.
4. Things we COULDN’T do before but CAN now
To communicate this what you do is list everything that you can think of that relates to each of the below four boxes in the order shown by the numbers.
If your change is large it will likely take a number of workshops or quite a few methods of communications to your staff to get the message across.
As Change Leaders we are already on board with the change. Your staff are way back in the change curve and as such need help to understand.
When your team hears about the destination, the end state of your change they won’t necessarily understand how it will affect them. It is very important to ensure you communicate in a way that lets people know how they will be affected.
By using this tool it will start to become glaringly obvious whether or not your change is going to have a positive impact to the people the change effects or a negative one.
Using the four gates to possibility will enable you to engage your staff in fair process and as a result give you a much easier path to the possibility you are trying to bring about. But! Remember you should always be open to the possibility the change you are trying to bring about is the wrong one.
Have a great week team. Stay Awesome..