Creating the need for change

In any change, personal or professional, emotions are always involved. As we mentioned before, people experience change as pain, and therefore, according to Peter Drucker, “it should be postponed as long as possible, and no change would be vastly preferable. But in a period of upheaval, such as the one we are living in, change is the norm.” — “Management Challenges for the 21st Century” (1999).

When we are looking to innovate, we are incurring a change. It can be a slight alteration of a process or a new technology in the organization. It doesn’t matter how small or big the change you are trying to instigate. You are likely to run into some resistance. People tend to believe that the status quo they currently have is perhaps more valuable than it is. One of the main factors that stop change, preventing people from taking action, is complacency – people get too comfortable with the way things are done and do not see or feel the need to change.

So how can we create a change in our organization? For this, we need to focus on two concepts: 1. Core Challenge, this one establishes a sense of urgency. Get people “out of the bunker” or “safe zone” and get them ready to move. 2. Desired Behavior, people start telling each other that they need a change. There are many frameworks to create change in the organization, one very popular was created by Dr. Kotter, and it is based on eight steps:

  1. Create a sense of urgency
  2. Build a guiding coalition
  3. Form a strategic vision and initiatives
  4. Enlist a volunteer army
  5. Enable action by removing barriers
  6. Generate short-term wins
  7. Sustain acceleration
  8. Institute change

Create a sense of urgency

Help others see the need for change through a bold, aspirational opportunity statement that communicates the importance of acting immediately.

Build a guiding coalition

Kotter advocates a new system different from the traditional organizational hierarchy. A more agile, network-like structure that operates in concert with the order to create what he calls a “dual operating system”—allowing companies to capitalize on rapid-fire strategic challenges and still make their numbers.

Form a strategic vision and initiatives

Vision is critical in change. It would be best if you were clear on how the future will be different from the past and how you can make the future a reality thought initiative connected to the firm’s

Enlist a volunteer army

In this step, Dr. Kotter explains the importance of persuasion to get the buy-in on the firm. For this, you need to make sure to pick up the right people for the job.

Enable action by removing barriers

Removing barriers such as inefficient processes and hierarchies provides the freedom to work across silos and generate real impact.

Generate short-terms win

You need to celebrate each improvement in the changes process. Generating and celebrating small wins helps to keep the firm motivate towards the primary goal.

Sustain acceleration

Press harder after the first success. Your increasing credibility can improve systems, structures, and policies. Be relentless with initiating change after change until the vision is a reality.

Institute changes

Articulate the connections between the new behaviors and organizational success, ensuring they continue until they become strong enough to replace old habits.

Focus on Ethos, Logos, and Pathos

If we want our people to get along with the new norm, it is necessary to understand and develop a good communication plan to explain the value of the change. People are not opposed to the change in the process; they are opposed to being changed; therefore, leadership is critical in the process. Employees need to hear from the executive what the plan is, what would change, and what would remain the same, creating some level of comfort among the employees by knowing that not everything would change.

So, it is vital to know how to communicate and convince people that the firm needs the change. For this, we will use Aristotle’s three modes of persuasion, Ethos, Logos, and Pathos. First, we need to know our audience. We need to know what department will face the change and our significant stakeholders in the process to learn their prejudices, the process, and their expectations of it. Once we know and understand the people involved in the change, we can develop our change communication plan using Aristotle’s technique.


This part of your communication plan strikes the moral and ethics. You need to establish your authority on the subject and build rapport. People need to believe that you are trustworthy, in the well-known words,” A pretty straight kind of guy.” In this phase, you can use stories, appeal to values and morals, where people feel obliged to change to do the right thing.


In this phase, we will focus on the data. Using the information we have, we will strike the logic for the change. We want our goals to the shift to seem so straightforward and commanding that people can’t conceive of an alternative. Aristotle suggested encouraging your audience to reach the purpose of your argument, and they will feel satisfied that they were clever enough to figure it out. In this stage, we will get our hands on data, graphs, and financials for logically create the need for a change.


In the pathos phase, we will reach the emotional side of our employees. These emotions can go from humor, devotion, loyalty, or any emotional response. The goal is to make the people feel that they want the change. We will use stories, pictures, or music.

We need to remember that change management is primarily about people, not processes. It’s tempting to focus on the process piece because it’s more straightforward and tangible than the messiness of people’s behaviors and emotions.

Therefore, it’s equally important to communicate how these people can now shift their attention to higher-value work, like spending more time with customers, rather than repetitive tasks that are easily automated.

Ultimately, keep in mind that the three modes of persuasion are interconnected. If you can communicate your change plan with ethos, logos, and pathos and tie it all into your firm culture and vision, you will have a solid case, and it will help you get the buy-in from your employees easier.