In any change there are many reasons why people might feel good or bad about what’s going on, and as change managers if we can find the right ‘buttons’ we can press them. That’s really what we mean by winning hearts and minds.
“What’s in it for me?” (or WIIFM?) is a valid question but without a solid framework for understanding employees’ motivational and emotional world, the answers will tend to be limited to the obvious, more rational ones. Minds, more than hearts.
Consider the following hypothetical WIIFMs:
- The sense of achievement from seeing the change through
- The excitement and sense of adventure of doing something new
- A sense of belonging from being part of a new organisation
- A chance to break from the bureaucracy and make more decisions
- The opportunity to learn and develop my career
- Feeling like the organisation caters more for me and my needs
- The change to build a more competitive business
- The opportunity to do something for the greater good
Whether you recognise these as valid reasons for a particular change or not, the important point is that they are motivationally different as they reflect the eight motivational states or ‘lenses’ through which we can see change that are provided by Reversal Theory (Apter). These states (and corresponding values are):
- Serious (Achievement)
- Playful (Enjoyment)
- Conforming (Fitting In)
- Rebellious (Freedom)
- Self-Oriented Mastery (Personal Power)
- Self-Oriented Sympathy (Cared for)
- Other-Oriented Mastery (Support for Others)
- Other-Oriented Sympathy (Care for others)
If, in future, you are trying to understand the WIIFM of people in your organisation, see if you can put on the lenses above and see eight different reasons why they might embrace change!
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