Approaches to Change – 2: Logic and Emotion in Equal Quantities…
“By why, I don’t mean profit, that’s the result. By why, I mean what’s your purpose why are you doing what you do?” Simon Sinek
Article by Mark Gregory:
Over the years I have been involved in many change programmes both on the receiving end of the change or leading it. When on the receiving end more often than not these programmes never quite felt right to me.
Whilst I often understood the change at an intellectual level, the logic, often presented as some output or result benefit, cost, safety, quality, delivery etc. I found the organisations involved would fire immense amounts of detail at me; facts, figures, numbers and the customer feedback all offering me the compelling case for change. I would attend briefing after briefing were these figures would be explained and justified and re-justified. I would listen to other members of staff’s frustrations overflow in the form of some debate around what was being presented which would send the leaders into a further spiral of data and number justification. Which in turn would leave the majority of the audience talking about why this would never work.
What I observed through these experiences was that on the whole people got the numbers, they got the logic and they understood the business or economic reasons, but inside they held some emotion about the presented change that they could not quite release.
My conclusion was organisations spent a disproportionate amount of time explaining the logic and relatively no time on managing the emotion around the presentation of the logic. In the worst of these experiences they completely ignored it! Leadership just closed down and any dialogue became a one-way communication channel justified by some floored logic around consultation rules. Trust me, never a good place to be.
So when leading such activities I worked really hard to allow people to feel the change as well as intellectualise it. In my view there is never one solution to this issue but you have to focus on holding the balance of logic v emotion. A few useful principles I hold dear to help in this conundrum:
- Take time to Understand: It is not about you or your organisation but the people within it. More often and not such programmes become about the organisational needs and the people just simply get lost. Stephen R. Covey said “Seek to understand before being understood.” This is definitely the case hear, organisations just don’t spend time seeking to understand. So think hard about this principle and how to do.
- Leaders get lost too: Not sure about anyone else but for me to engage others I have to be engaged myself. This becomes even more critical in times of change. Leaders have emotion too and very often their emotion around change is just ignored as they stop becoming real people in the eyes of an organisation and become the logic communication vehicle. So think hard about how to manage the leader’s emotion.
- Emotion is from a different place to logic: Emotion is about that part of our brain that visualises, it is about present and future, where imagination rules. Look at the mechanisms that connect with us here. Pictures of the future, feeling based forums and discussions, consider alternative conversational methodologies application based technologies. The focus here, think hard about creating powerful images of the future, so people can see the change.
In part one I spoke about if you want a different result then do some different stuff. My experience tells me organisations who focus on both logic and emotion are doing some different stuff.