If you want to succeed, surrender!


Surrender your need to control the vision and strategy, that is..

Metaphor Mapping is a tool designed for collaborative strategy setting.  It assumes you as the change agent will engage a variety of stakeholders to set the vision and strategy in a collaborative way.   It gives you a master tool to get a dialog going, stimulate fresh thinking and a plan that draws on the experience of the total group.  You get the commitment you need to see the project through– but you have to surrender any desire to be the sole parent of success.

Resistance dissolves when everyone affected become a part-owner.  When a change is your idea, you can’t be against it and are likely to enthusiastically sell it to others.  Sounds easy BUT most changes originate as somebody else’s idea.  For example, the CFO says “We’ve got to cut costs by 15%!”.  What to do then?  While the original idea for a change usually can’t be jointly owned,  the task of  defining the detail of how work will be done in the future can be. You can avoid people becoming bruised when power is exerted.  Those affected don’t need to feel dis-respected or vulnerable or see themselves as captives of the system.  Engage the “victims” of top-down change in defining how things will work in their processes beneath the mandated structure of their new world.

Each individual gets to contribute to answering the question “What’s this mean to me?” A Village mapping workshop that soon follows the announcement allows them to define their new process at an operations level. When showing the activities and relationships needed, each can symbolize obstacles to effectiveness he perceives.  Symbols give a “name” to concerns and make them easier to address.  Visual imagery makes it easier to see how things could be better in the future.  In some cases, a group or individual may believe they will lose stature or even their position in that future vision.   Identifying and addressing their specific concerns at the very start of the change exercise removes much of the accompanying angst and a major source of potential resistance.

Many examples from supply chain re-design to IT project definition show that collaborative strategy-setting with metaphors and symbols is an efficient and effective way to energize and build team ownership for change.  Consider a Catalyze Change! workshop whenever you need change to stick.