Change Management Training Step 6: Build Commitment

Because-Of-A-Cause (Provide A Strong Sense Of Purpose)

Take an hour or so and get out of your office. Go look at what your people are in, day out, year after repetitive year. What you’ll see are big people in little assignments—people grinding away at jobs that are far too small for their spirits.

So what happens? Their souls sleep on the job, drugged by the monotony or lack of meaning. Commitment doesn’t have a crying chance.

Give these same people a “cause,” though, and watch the place come alive. Folks who are fired up by causes are energized. They puttheir hearts into their work. They “buy in” to change. Here’s the simple fact: People don’t care about working for a company; they want to work for a movement.

Provide employees a grand purpose, a mission with a larger meaning, a cause that transcends the dullness of their everyday duties. Give them a dream they can identify with, and watch commitment climb.

It should go without saying that some dry, sterile, commercial goal will not fire up commitment. Employees have a hard time getting emotional about financial objectives such as “increased market share” or “a 20% corporate rate of return.” Instead, build your cause around a concept, an idea or principle, that can inspire people to go beyond their present limits.

It’s worth noting that Martin Luther King did not say, “I have a strategic plan.” He shouted, “I have a dream!,” and he created a crusade.

Change often kills people’s faith in the future.

Unable to make any promising connection between a troubled today and a vague tomorrow, they fall into a weary pattern of doubt, cynicism, and disillusionment.

The organization asks more of everyone, but fails to tie that request to the hearstrings of employees. Your job is to justify the struggle, to aim your people toward something special.

Never underestimate the power of purpose.