Zlonk! More Batman lessons on change management

by Jamie Flinchbaugh on 09-09-13


Last week I posted thoughts on change management inspired by Batman [Kapow! A lesson on change management from Batman?]. I received a lot of notes back on the post, and thought I would returned to the masked hero for more.

A common problem I see with change management is that those looking to make the change assume that everyone else is motivated through the same things that they are, be it money, fame, recognition, or just an innate sense of excellence.

But everyone is not wired the same. Everyone is not brought up the same. Everyone is not at work for the same reasons. And without question, everyone is not motivated by the same things.

This is one the many reasons I say that there is no such thing as organizational change. Organizations do not change. The people within organizations change. And once you’ve changed enough of the people, then the organization has changed.

Change has to be personal. You have to make it relate to each individual, and what motivates them.

Back to Batman [I know with my graphic above and my video below, Batman enthusiasts will chastise me for mixing my Batman generations – I get it!]. Batman is trying to figure out how to beat the Joker, and assumes all villains are motivated by the same things. Alfred is demonstrating to him that “some men just want to watch the world burn.”

Hopefully, you don’t have employees who just want to watch the world burn; if you do, then I think you know what to do. But what does motivate your employees? And how do you create change in an environment were motivation is not homogeneous.

1. Connect your change to your incentive program, but do not rely on this as the primary mechanism.

2. Get very good at the message of how it affects the individual. I’m not talking about how it motivates the individual, but how it affects them. How will their life at work be different because of the change? If you can’t articulate this, then you’ve already lost.

3. Prepare the leaders throughout the organization to engage in 1-on-1 conversations.

4. Provide recognition around certain aspects of the change, both in terms of results and behaviors. Give people the chance to “win.”

5. Build teams around specific activities of change, for those looking for engagement and participation with others.

6. Evaluate, including measurement, and communicate how things are going continuously, for those who need to feel the progress.

Motivation is not 1-dimensional, especially organization wide.

Change is one heart and one mind at a time! And of course, don’t forget to start with yourself. If you can’t motivate yourself to the change, it will be quite the challenge to change others.