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Two important elements of a Change Strategy are the Case for Change and the Vision. While the former outlines the reasons for moving from the status quo, the Vision creates an attractive destination for people to move to.

Having recently suggested eight questions to help make your Case for Change compelling, this article does the same for your vision.

What makes an effective vision?

Baum, Locke and Kirkpatrick found, in a longitudinal study of businesses that an effective vision does have a positive impact upon performance. Attributes that they considered were: brevity, clarity, abstractness, challenge, future-orientation, stability and desirability (or ability to inspire).

Creating a motivationally rich or inspiring vision

The following eight questions relate to the desirability, or ability of your vision to inspire. Motivational richness is a term coined by Michael Apter, whose 8 motivational styles form the basis of these questions. In other words, you can make your vision more compelling by appealing to multiple motivations, that may be rational, emotional and political in nature.

To what extent does your vision:

  • Articulate a clear and aspirational goal (or goals) for the change?
  • Indicate what is expected of people in order to achieve the goal?
  • Describe how getting there (or going on the journey) will make life more enjoyable or interesting?
  • Make it clear how to challenge the process and / or ask questions and make it safe to do so?
  • Set out how the change will enable or empower people to develop or realise their ambitions?
  • Describe how it will improve relationships, wellbeing or the ability to provide care e.g. customers?
  • Articulate what’s in it for me, as an individual (WIIFM)?
  • Balance that out with how the change will benefit collectively the organisation, colleagues, or the community that it serves?

Targeting your vision for change

If you are creating messages that will appeal to a large number of people, such as a large stakeholder group, then creating a more motivationally rich message will appeal to more people, more of the time. Indeed, the same person might take something different from it one day versus the next.

However, if you are able to, it is always worth targeting the message in your vision to more segmented groups and key individuals. To understand them, simply turn the questions around. What is their goal? How much clarity do they need, versus freedom to challenge and express themselves? What do they enjoy, or take pleasure from? What are their ambitions. Who they care about… ..and so on.

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