From WIIFM to WAMI – Acknowledge what’s outside their interests

Every day I read news from around the world to ensure I’m ready to have relevant and insightful conversations with my clients. It doesn’t look good when you have no idea that a new disaster is threatening your employee’s lives or livelihood.
One of the sources I consult is The Guardian. If you visit them you will likely experience a pop-up asking you to subscribe. They are quite innovative in your approach, like this one:

There is a good reason why NOT to support the Guardian.
Not everyone can afford to pay for news right now. That is why we keep our journalism open for everyone to read. If this is you, please continue to read for free.
But if you are able to, then there are THREE good reasons to support us today from Canada.

  1. Our quality, investigative journalism is a scrutinising force at a time when the rich and powerful are getting away with more and more
  2. We are independent and have no billionaire owner pulling the strings, so your money directly powers our reporting
  3. It doesn’t cost much, and takes less time than it took to read this message

See what they did there? They began by acknowledging potential stakeholder pain. There are often very good, obvious reasons why people choose not to comply with a request. The Guardian begins by addressing the biggest objection – no cash!
Next, they give those same people a path forward. In this case, it’s status quo – do nothing.
Finally, they move to the benefits of compliance, appealing to value, principles, and cost (minimal). 
Many years ago I was in a change management workshop where the facilitator (thank you Lyall Samaroden!) introduced the concept of WAMI -What’s Against My Interests. He brilliantly highlighted the need to balance benefits (WIIFM – What In It For Me) with costs when introducing change to employees. 
When leaders are honest about the struggle that people will face during the change journey, they build credibility and instill resilience in their people. Of course, for change leaders, we do not want people to ‘do nothing’ if they are feeling hesitant about a change, so we always include a path forward that details how we will equip and support them to be successful despite the challenge.
Take a point from The Guardian – address the WAMI as well as the WIIFM up front and take the momentum out of potential resistance.
Thoughtfully yours,

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