Do you believe that leaders like change and followers resist it? This was the misconception I used to live under for a number of years. I believed that leaders were out there with a machete, cutting a path through the jungle of life and business, encouraging change, whilst their followers were standing back with folded arms singing “I shall not be moved”. My experience has shown me that both leaders and followers are resistant to change, unless they feel that it is their idea and they had some involvement in creating it.

Unlocking Support for Change
No one will ever buy in to any proposed change unless:

They understand the reason they or the organisation needs it
They feel like they had a part in creating it, albeit only a small contribution towards the final ratification of it.
They understand their individual role required to support it and their personal actions necessary to achieve it.
They can identify any barriers standing in the way and how to mitigate them.
Leaders within the organisation at any level can stop or support the successful introduction of any change within the organisation, due to their position and influence. The greater the level of participation within the organisation and the more they follow an inclusive approach towards introducing any change in the organisation, the greater the success they will enjoy with the introduction of any change.

Research has shown that to successfully introduce any change into your organisation requires the involvement of as many people as possible. The more shared thinking there is throughout the process, the more success you will enjoy and the greater will be the buy-in into the process. An inclusive approach, where people are asked to express their opinion, allows for a bigger sample of input and it makes everyone feel part of the process. It changes the process from one where, any change is viewed as their process, to one which is seen by all stakeholders as our process.

Introducing New Ideas
The ideas I am referring to here could be positive changes within the organisation, introducing a new or revised vision for the organisation, allowing your teams to unlock their purpose, towards assisting the organisation to achieve the overall organisational vision, assisting team members to understand their individual role towards supporting their teams to work on purpose every day etc.

Introducing and getting all stakeholders to buy into any new idea, vision or purpose is the compounding effect of, allowing everyone to feel included, ensuring that there is absolute clarity and understanding around what is required of them. The right kind of collaboration, clarity and complete understanding will allow everyone to support and properly implement any new idea, greatly increasing the odds of successfully implementing the new idea, vision or purpose.

Supporting this process
I have experimented with many different methods to support people to collaborate and help then simplify the thinking process, so that they can either create and understand or interpret and understand any new idea, vision or purpose. Obviously the sooner you involve all stakeholders in the creation of any new idea, vision or purpose, the better, as they will feel more included.

This is however not always possible as many organisations, may already have a vision in place and they merely want to communicate it, get their teams to buy in to the process and also leave their team with a clear understanding around how they can support the organisation to travel in the direction of the organisational vision.

The process involves the use of pictorial cards, which help people to unlock their inner understanding, without too much conscious thought. Any method I have explored, which required conscious effort, was ineffective as people doubt themselves and resist the free flow of conscious thought. By using pictures, I have found that people are able to by-pass their own restrictive conscious thinking. This frees people’s minds and the thinking becomes free flowing, as the pictures help them bypass their conscious barriers and doubts. The pictures allow their brain to work in alignment with its inner workings and frees everyone up to express their inner thoughts.

Creating Organisational Vision
When this pictorial process is used to support free thinking to create an organisational vision, all stakeholders get to contribute to the overall vision. This allows for the collective input of many different perspectives and supports the creation of a well-rounded vision, which everyone was involved in creating. This immediately turns it from a place where it is viewed as their vision, to one where it is seen as “OUR” vision and how can we make it work. When people are involved in the formulation of anything, they are far more driven to support it and to make it work.

Communicating Understanding of the Vision
As second prize the process of using the pictorial process can also be used to unlock understanding and to clarify individual or team purpose. Although they are not involved in the creation of the vision, the process allows all participants to freely participate in understanding and clarifying their individual and team perspectives around purpose. The process allows for discussion and debate around understanding, utilising the collective mind to unlock, understand and clarify the vision in their own unique space within the organisation. The process allows the individuals to express their point of view, share their understanding and help everyone to move onto the same page of understanding.

What is required from everyone?
They must be encouraged to participate freely and the process must be facilitated in such a way to encourage everyone to participate, not just the dominate few.
The facilitation process must encourage discussion and debate, where one thought can play off another one. Gradually tweaking each thought, improving understanding and helping everyone get the clarity they need.
The collective energy must be managed and used to guide participation.
Everyone must be encouraged to express their strengths and understand and support each other’s weaknesses. This inclusive process is one of inclusion and people who are focus thinkers, must encourage and support the creative thinkers to expand the thinking. Everyone must be encouraged to appreciate the input from everyone else. This way the collective brain can operate at its best.
Everyone must be made to see their value and the importance of their contribution to the entire process.
It is crucial that everyone checks their ego at the door. The best results are achieved when the individual agenda is subordinate to that of the group.
Questioning within the group must be encouraged to unlock thinking. This is supported by the use of pictures, which helps unlock free flowing thought.
Everyone must be supported to take ownership of the process. All ideas must be explored, filtered and discussed, until they become owned by the group.
The success of the entire process hinges around the attitude of everyone participating. Everyone must be encouraged to enter with an attitude of inclusion, participation and mutual support.
This powerful, yet simple process allows people to unlock their inner thoughts, develop understanding and clarify their individual part in the process. This process has evolved over the past few years and has proven very successful for creating, understanding and clarifying vision within any organisation.

Author's Bio: 

Andrew Horton is one of South Africa's top sales training experts. He will support, uplift and inspire sales professionals to explore the limits of their potential and awaken the sales giants, which resides within all of them. His sales training presentation is aimed at inspiring sales professionals, helping them to become re-energised and eager to achieve their sales targets. The sales tools and powerful tried and tested practical sales techniques, they will be introduced to during his presentation, will help any sales professional to immediately up their game and to become a real sales giant, within their markets. Visit my website at