In the phenomenal book Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard
, the brothers Heath talk about the 3 components of making change happen. Using their terminology “motivating the elephant” is a critical step. Getting the big emotional beast on the right side of change is how to get things done according to the Heath’s and having created, watched and participated in organizational change I cannot agree enough. One of the keys to getting the pachyderm moving is to focus on feelings. The intellectual stuff (leave that to the Heaths’ “rider”) won’t get the big boy to move but the soft stuff of emotion really works.
One of the drawbacks of having moved a lot is that I don’t get to see some people as much as I wish. Craig Wortmann is one of those people. Craig and I worked together in Chicago and he is one the the most genuine and positive people I have ever met (genuinely miserable people seem to be much more common). He kept a book of “wins” at his desk. Filled with accolades, thanks from customers and notes from his daughter, this book was his constant cheerleader. Craig was a great salesman and he did it, in part, by creating and telling stories. When Craig and I closed a large piece of business I was informed of the sale at Craig’s house by his young daughter carrying the signed contract to me. At that moment Craig had turned an intellectual win (money is good) into an emotional one for me. And a great story.
Craig wrote a book a few years back called What’s Your Story?: Using Stories to Ignite Performance and Be More Successful. In it he gives a clear and structured way to build great stories the get results. There is a quote in the book from Seth Godin that has always stuck with me, “Either you are going to tell stories that will spread, or you will become irrelevant.” I think about this in the context of start-ups and the only change to make is that start-ups must “create” stories that will spread. Early success is about early adopters. And early adopters treated right become evangelists. What do evangelists do? They tell stories! They tell them about your company, about your product, about their experience. And it is these stories that motivate your market’s elephant to change from not being your customer to being one.
What stories did your company create today?