How to leverage everyday stories to spark extraordinary change

From coffee-antique shops to do-it-yourself community libraries to contactless pizza, innovation is everywhere these days.Small and large business are finding new ways to serve their communities and employees as we wade through a sea of forced change.

Individuals have been adapting in incredible ways – not just learning new technologies, but putting them to brand new uses (haircut guidance by Zoom, anyone?). Employees that could not envision themselves working from home have figured it out. Not always 100% successful (oh sorry, I’m on mute again!), but they have made it work.

There are two questions to consider from this:

1. How can we leverage this type of innovation in the future?

2. How can we embed adaptability as permanent resilience?

For the first question, start capturing stories. Consider how everyday people have been adapting inside and outside your organization. Clip articles, take pictures and ask employees to share their biggest most positive shifts. I promise, you will be impressed!

Taking this to hear, one of my clients asked employees to submit stories about how their peers were demonstrating excellence in change. Hoping to get at least 50, stories shows up in the HUNDREDS!

Use them to praise what employees are doing, then file them away. This will not be the last time we have a crisis. It will not be the last time we have reason to shift our behaviours radically. When that time comes, pull out those stories and remind people of how they stepped up in the past. Remind them of the strength and resilience they demonstrated. Remind them that tough times don’t last forever.

Tell their stories.

There is nothing so motivating as recognizing that we have been here before, and conquered. 

Coming up: How to embed adaptability!

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Jeff Skipper
Jeff Skipper is an expert in accelerating change. Clients such as Shell, Goldman Sachs and The Salvation Army have engaged him to achieve dramatic results during strategic transformation by wrapping complex change in motivating mission. He has been quoted in Fast Company, Forbes and HP’s enterprise.nxt. Jeff holds a Master’s degree in Organizational Psychology and is a Certified Change Management Professional.