3 HUGE Reasons You Need Future Visioning For Your Change Project

transformation Jun 17, 2019
If you want to get your change project off to a good start (and keep it that way), there’s one huge - and often overlooked - piece of the puzzle you might be missing. I took to video to talk about why Transformation Directors must articulate a positive vision for the end state of change projects if they want BIG success.

If you’d rather read the scan-able version, here it is:

Transformation teams don’t talk about the dream enough

As a Transformation Consultant, this is something I see a lot:

We start a project feeling great.

We talk about WHY we have to move from where we are right now.

We talk about burning platforms and the reasons that brought us to this point of change.

Which is fine, but not enough if you want your change project to take off and be the shining success you’re aiming for.

Why? Because this narrative repels us from the place we are right now. In other words:

Focussing on the problem doesn’t attract us towards a new future.

And honestly, one of the arguments often levelled at Transformation teams is that we are a little bit negative (okay, A LOT negative!).

We need to be more positive and sell people on the vision of the future.

Saying WHY we have to change isn't enough. We need to show people what change is going to look like. And not just what it's going to look like, but how it's going to feel.

Outlining benefits isn’t enough

Frankly, talking about how we can’t keep going as we are, and outlining the benefits we want instead, is dull.

We have to be clear about the bright future our transformation projects are going to create, and paint a vivid picture of that; Not from the point of view of a Transformation Director, but from the point of view of the users and stakeholders.

How to paint the future vision

One of the ways we can do this is to make sure that we are being BIG enough in the vision we're painting.

Take root cause analysis as an example. This is when we repeatedly ask WHY in order to understand at a deeper level what’s causing the problem we’re trying to fix.

We want to do the reverse here.

Start with benefits and outcomes. Saying, ‘this is what we want to achieve with this project’ means the next question is WHY? Why do we want to achieve that? What is that going to do?

Keep asking why until you get a real sense of where the project fits into the bigger picture world of exciting new possibilities.

People are attracted to exciting new possibilities.

One of the things I love to do with Transformation Directors is help them paint the visionary future in a way so that their stakeholders can almost taste and smell it. A great way of doing that is by incorporating an imaginary case study of how the change project will change life a user in a very real way - both now and in the future.

Why do you need future visioning?

1. It makes change easier

Simply, having a big, clear WHY helps us deliver projects more easily.

From the very start, it helps on-board stakeholders and users onto the same journey that we intend to make.

One of the things that naturally happens at the start of a transformation project when talking about the problem we're trying to solve, is that stakeholders have lots of ideas about how to overcome the problem. Some could be great; others wide of the mark.

But if you’re able to articulate a vision of the future from the start, then those same stakeholders are going to have instantaneous buy-in.

Stakeholder ideas are suddenly in perfect alignment with the future vision.

So as they go about their working lives, they'll subconsciously fit all the tasks they're doing into that vision of the future. This makes change much easier.

2. It maintains momentum

Everybody knows that during a change project, we’ll get to a stage where not everything is as wonderful as we’d like it to be. We’ll do things that won't have the outcomes we hope for and will have to try again, iterating our solutions in different ways. This is an inevitable and helpful process.

In order to maintain the momentum during difficult times, it's much easier if you're all bought into a future vision.

One of the transformation managers I've worked with talks about a concept of patient relentlessness, and I love this.

It's much easier to be patiently relentless if you’re working towards a goal.

3. You'll know when you’re successful

With a clear future vision, you’ll know when your reality looks like the dream.

No one wants a change project that drags on and on with no finish line in sight. A clear future vision means understanding when the end of the project is near.

As you get closer to the end, the whole team gets excited (including the people on the ground who actually have to enact the hard change - hello motivation).

Imagine moving towards your end goal with everyone able to see the vision that you articulated at the beginning come to life? This is the magic!

Future visioning enables engagement and communication for a positive and energetic change project that actually works. So why wouldn’t you paint that picture?

What does your future vision for your change project look like? Tell me and let’s bring it to life.

I’m a Transformation Programme Director with a proven track-record of turning change projects around so you can have the big success you need and I run Oakwood, a Management Consultancy dedicated to helping businesses achieve successful, sustainable and self-sufficient change.

Send me a DM or email me to talk about how I could help you achieve your aims.

And make sure you join me again live this Wednesday at 18.00 on the Oakwood Facebook Page or catch the upload on LinkedIn shortly afterwards. This week I’ll be talking about Co-creation as the Corner Stone of Change.

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