Learning with TBOE

Holly Ransom presents at TBOE 2019

Make changes by understanding driving factors

Posted on May 30th, 2019 in Uncategorised

Change is inevitable in the business world. Sometimes it’s forced upon you and other times you’re in charge. How often, though, do we have ideas for change but fail to implement them – or fail to implement them well?

Holly Ransom, CEO of Emergent, spoke at TBOE 2019 about how to successfully drive change and how to intentionally drive growth.

Understanding driving factors

When Holly works with a new client, one of the first things she does is look at the core buckets of human drivers. These are the factors that dictate what a person most wants from a situation. She has found these to be:

  • Certainty and stability
  • Contribution and impact
  • Growth and development
  • Love and connection
  • Significance and worth
  • Variety and challenge

They then look in turn at each one to see how people would react to the change based on what they’re looking for. Holly gave an example of a client who was coming up against resistance while trying to make a change in how they operate. Holly spoke to the workforce and found they were mostly driven by certainty and stability.

She said, “That world often hears ‘am I still relevant?’ or ‘do I still have a job tomorrow?’. They weren’t open to seeing the possibility of change because their driver was being completely unmet. So, when we changed the positioning and messaging to talk about how this was actually about ensuring the company’s future – a pathway to jobs, a pathway to further opportunity and to new markets – all of a sudden, the attitude of that cohort completely started to shift.”

Although you may have one primary driver in your audience, it’s a useful exercise to think about all six. However, Holly recommends that you focus on just one or two per campaign.

Another tip that Holly had is to challenge people who say no. Often they say no just because it’s easier than embracing change. For people who are resistant, she suggests that you ask ‘if I were to turn your no into a yes, what would I have to do?’ to move the conversation forward.

Building a diverse team

We’re hearing a lot about diversity at the moment – and rightly so – but Holly had a different angle on it. Based on the idea that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time around, her dream is to build leadership teams comprised of people of all the different human drivers.

She said, “The hallmark of great leaders will be the diversity of the five people they spend the most time around. Imagine the difference to your changemaking if you intentionally picked to surround yourself with the five drivers that aren’t yours.”

“Find someone in your organisation, if you’re not certainty and stability driven, who is that. Find someone who is variety and challenge, who is love and connection, and when you come to that table and put an idea in, imagine the conversation you’re going to get. Imagine the feedback and the roadblocks you’re going to get in front of because you have that richness of view sitting round the table.”

Another tactic she has is to think about all the ways a project or change might fail before you start with any actions. Prevention is better than the cure, after all, and by having a table of people driven by different factors it’s a lot easier to identify possible problems and address them before making anything public.

How do we motivate action? 

There’s a big difference between wanting to do something and actually doing something. Many of us make new year’s resolutions, for example, but not many of us make it to February with our resolve intact.

A big way we can motivate action is through language. The way you speak about what you’re doing has a big impact on whether it gets done. You have to be able to explain what you’re doing, why you’re doing it and what benefits there are for other people. Not only do you and your customers have to understand it, but so does your team. If they don’t, how can your business truly shift?

Holly said, “One of the things I want to challenge is the language that we use to talk about change and business. If we walk in and talk to our teams about how we need to maximise our synergies and vertically integrate and embark on some greenfield endeavours, most people’s eyes are going to roll back in their heads.”

“The biggest reasons change fails is because people don’t actually understand what you’re asking them to do. What does it mean to change? How do we do things differently next week than we did this week? How can we make it clearer the behaviour we’re asking people to demonstrate to support the journey we’re on?”

“If you can’t explain it to a six-year-old, you do not understand it yourself. In Australian public policy context, they say that when they are talking to the public, they are pitching to a 12- to 13-year-old.”

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