Facilitate change by painting the picture of a better future

In our quest to solve problems and deliver value, solutions often require people to change. The frustration of resistance is mistaken for a lack of support or an inability to understand instead of the more natural fear of change.

Change is hard, even for people who claim to thrive on change.

Leaders can facilitate change — and even accelerate the process — by painting a picture of a brighter future.

Change is difficult because we are built to maintain homeostasis and preserve the status quo. Yet we also adapt, often in response to stimuli. This is why we embrace change when the perceived discomfort of change becomes more appealing than the current pain we feel.

The key is to understand how perception affects change. In the face of uncertain change, fear makes the status quo more comfortable than change. If you tap into their natural self-interest and help them see themselves and their situation differently, people can (and will) change.

Think of change as a journey.

If you don’t know or how are you going to get there?

We are more excited about some destinations than others. If we want people to be excited about the change, or at least less worried about the process, describe the destination with an interesting story.

I call this painting the picture of a better future.

The choice of words is intentional: paint a picture that allows your audience to visualize a better future. Don’t worry if your drawing, like mine, is a stick figure. Find the right descriptive words to create an inviting image in the mind and let people soak up the experience.

Painting a picture of a better future works for three main reasons:

  1. Help people visualize the destination, creating excitement for what’s possible.
  2. Encourage people to see their current situation through a different lens. A slight change in perception – if only for a moment – allows them to see the best tomorrow as more desirable than their current state.
  3. Removes the mystery and reduces the false perception of the journey through change.

To suggest that tomorrow is better is not an indictment of today. Sometimes we have to change, even when people like the status quo. That’s why we need to make the process easier.

Successfully painting a picture of a better future gives people meaning in their lives. Leave room for the vision to grow and let people help fill in the missing pieces. Honor the team’s experience and insight to help everyone enjoy the process.

It takes time and effort to paint the picture for people. In my experience, it makes the trip more enjoyable and meaningful. With less friction and better support, you’re likely to accelerate the process of change, deliver value, and prepare for the next challenge.

*** This is a syndicated blog from the Security Bloggers Network of Security Catalyst written by Michael Santarcangelo. Read the original post at: https://securitycatalyst.com/ease-change-by-painting-a-picture-of-a-better-tomorrow/

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