Who is NOT trying to make change happen faster? Managers want employees to take up the banner of [fill in the blank: More Innovation? Fewer missed deadlines?]. Employees want managers to take off the blinders and [fill in the blank: Call fewer meetings and reports? Stick to a set of priorities for more than a month?]. Regardless of your change agenda, I think you’ll come up with good change management ideas from this unusual source.
Unilever is taking sustainability seriously. A recent Triple Pundit article notes, “the company’s target is to halve its carbon footprint by 2020”. Fine, what is impressive is that their carbon footprint calculation includes the carbon usage by consumers of their products. In fact, they estimate that “68 percent of it comes from consumer use of Unilever’s products” and they are tackling the task of getting people to reduce that dramatically. First target: Getting consumers to reduce food waste. This is a fascinating change management project and I encourage you to read more about it, but something that caught my attention was their use of “Five Levers of Change”. I think they apply regardless of the kind of change you are trying to drive.
Unilever’s “Five Levers of Change”
Here they are, as reported by Triple Pundit:
“Make it understood. Do people know about the behavior, and do they think it is relevant to them? This lever is about raising awareness and encouraging acceptance.
Unilever’s goal: Make participants aware that the average family in the UK is throwing away about $1,080 of food waste each year and help them connect the dots between reducing waste and saving money.
Unilever’s goal: Help participants address the top three barriers the research highlighted to reducing food waste: food going bad quickly; throwing away leftovers; and preparing too much food, and look for tools that will help participants do it easily and conveniently.
Make it desirable. Will doing this new behavior fit with their actual or aspirational self-image? Does it fit with how they relate to others or want to? This lever is about “self and society” because humans are social animals.
Unilever’s goal: Make food waste reduction an aspirational behavior or link it to a positive self-image, just like it did with its Lifebuoy soap, linking washing hands with soap with being a good mother, which is, as the company explains, a powerful motivator.
Unilever’s goal: Show participants an easy way to identify the savings from their efforts to reduce food waste.
Make it a habit. Once people have made a change, what can we do to help them keep doing it? This lever is about reinforcing and reminding, “refreezing” people in their new habits so it becomes unconscious again.”
Failure-Proof Your Change Objective
We are often so personally passionate about a change that we ignore these needs. Your passion is important but it can raise resistance rather than enlistment. To set Affective Action in motion, i.e., to engage people heart’s and spirits in your change agenda, you need to make them: 1. Want it; 2. Be able to do it, and; 3. Want to keep doing it.
Applying the 5 drivers of enlistment described above should help your brilliant change ideas reach their phenomenal potential!