Imagine you’re an ancient mariner, setting sail on the seas. You have a well-crafted ship—your technology—and a seasoned crew—your team. But sailing aimlessly, you soon realize that all the craftsmanship in the world can’t replace guidance. That’s when you look up and find it—the Northern Star. In MaxGrip projects in which organizational change plays an essential role, we also use a Northern Star to navigate the change: the Change Story. With our many years of experience in leading asset management and maintenance change projects at companies around the globe, I can say that a Change Story makes all the difference between being adrift and sailing safely to your destination.
Why Your Change Story Is the Northern Star
The Northern Star provides direction and focus, much like a well-crafted Change Story in an asset management transformation project. It is one core message that everyone hears (repetitively) and which explains the importance of the change project to all stakeholders in the organization. The Change Story is a fundamental element in the communications strategy to get internal buy-in for the transformation. It is the constant in a sea of variables, offering guidance through the waters.
The Building Blocks of a Compelling Change Story
The beauty of the analogy lies in its simplicity—like the Northern Star, your Change Story should be easily identifiable to everyone on board, irrespective of rank or role. The building blocks of the Change Story boil down to:
- Why are we changing
Your ‘True North,’ the ultimate destination you’re sailing towards. Explain the vision, strategy and purpose of the change. Align this with the organizational goals. And why should the readers adopt this change?
- What is the current situation
The starting point of your voyage. Defining this helps in underlining why change is needed.
- What is the new situation
Describe the to-be situation. Highlight the benefits for the stakeholders, this can help mitigate resistance.
- How and when is this realized
Go into the process and share milestones. Be transparent.
Permit me to point out that the Change Story is not an isolated action or item but an integral component of a comprehensive communication strategy. It serves as the narrative backbone that aligns employees, stakeholders, and management around a shared vision for transformation. The efficacy of the Change Story depends on its continuous use in different communication tools and channels. In fact, continuous communication is key to changes that stick. It is seen as one of the most important bottle necks to failing change projects in industrial organizations in which the stakes are high and directly impact operational excellence.
Navigating to Successful Change
Having a guiding light like the Change Story in sustainable transformation is indispensable. As we’ve seen in countless MaxGrip projects, creating and using a Change Story and communication framework is not just a best practice; it’s a prerequisite for successful change. Just as no sailor would embark without celestial guidance, no change project should set sail without a captivating Change Story and a robust communication plan.
Willem van Keulen