30 October 2008

What’s in it for me?

I have spent most of the day working on a Communication Strategy for a client of mine to help them overcome some internal challenges that have evolved. It has been a while since I sat down to write a document like this but as often seems the case, writing this plan reinforced an idea that I had not forgotten but one that I had let slip to the back of my mind. 

In this strategy I had to address every stakeholder that this business has to deal with and come up with a way to communicate the changes that are occuring in a way that perhaps lessens the initial panic that change tends to create. In doing this I came across some old notes of mine, reinforcing the value of answering the question – “what’s in it for me?”. 

Now whilst I don’t like this attitude, the reality is that this is where most people are very comfortable in the face of change. They want to know how the coming changes will affect them – they may be interested in how the changes will affect the business, the suppliers, the other staff etc, but generally, and understandably, their main focus will be on their own life.

Hence anyone who is a leader, or anyone who finds themselves having to have to communicate change to others, will really benefit from putting themselves in the other persons shoes and asking “what’s in this for me?”.

Once you do this you can tailor make your communication to actually answer that question. The challenge is that most leaders and communicators are too busy focusing on their “what’s in it for me?” instead of the people they are talking to – “whats in it for me?”. OK – terrible grammar and awful punctuation but you get the drift. 

This really does make the whole change process so much easier.  I actually call this concept “THE ME MYTH” and I am developing a book based around the benefits of empathy when used in business, relationships and personal growth and development. 

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