Written by Kevin Heisey
on May 04, 2021

A common challenge to organizational transformation is resistance to change. But what is the nature of the resistance? While the word “resistance” can imply obstinate people willfully refusing to get with the program, that is rarely the case. Oftentimes, Executives, Teams and Managers have different priorities, goals and ideas when an organization isn’t fully aligned behind a single, clear vision. People need a collective understanding of the big picture “why” behind the change to align their efforts to it.

Many prominent organizations in crucial sectors like Finance, Healthcare, Insurance and Education are large, complex and decades old. This can cause pockets and silos with different segments understanding transformation through their own perspectives based on their experience. A foundational element of successful change is a collective understanding and ownership of strategy and vision throughout the organization. Without each Team knowing how it contributes to the big picture, conflicting directions and priorities can cause delay.

Communicating the Big Picture

How can you effectively communicate the big picture and “why” driving change throughout your organization? All Hands Meetings are a great way to share your organization’s big picture vision and goals while breaking down what it means organizationally for the next quarter or six months. But that’s only a starting point. You should also create events and activities that more actively engage Teams and individuals to help them understand how they contribute to achieving the organizational vision.

An example of an effective activity is an offsite Big Room Meeting. It can include multiple Teams where each Team takes a turn sharing its vision, explaining how it fits in with and contributes to the larger vision and sharing their most recent quarter’s accomplishments. Then they lay out their focus for the next quarter with three things they hope to improve. This type of event gives teams a deeper understanding of the big picture and how they and other teams contribute to the organization’s vision and goals.

There are endless ways to do this. Be creative and have fun, finding what best fits your organizational context and engages your Teams. The key is keeping big picture visibility at the forefront and structuring activities to meet that objective.

Creating a Shared Vision

Effectively communicating the big picture results in a stronger shared understanding of collective vision and goals throughout the organization. Each Team and individual connecting their role and what they do to the organizational vision will help overcome resistance and inertia and change will start to take hold. When people at the ground level fully understand what is being envisioned by leadership, they can take ownership and join the collective march toward the strategy, goal and vision.