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Case for change

Welcome to Love Mondays, a weekly newsletter designed as a 3-minute hit to fire up the other 10,077 minutes of your week. We apologise that a local public holiday and tech fail meant Love Mondays is coming out on Tuesday this week!

At any rate, in Italy, it is still Monday and the Italian philosopher Niccolo Machiavelli wrote, ‘There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct or more uncertain in its success than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things.’

Architecting the case for change is a hard build, especially when the end result feels no place like home. How do we make our ‘why’ for change more compelling than the ‘why not’ when it comes to stepping over the threshold? What is one significant shift you would like to influence in your company or community culture? Write it down.

Consider: what is your team’s objective?

Practice: honing this objective into a super-objective – a fundamental human need

Decide to: take the change journey from professional to persona

Super Objectives

The ‘Super Objective’ is a term borrowed from the actor, director, writer and teacher Konstantin Stanislavski.[i] He shifted the world of drama away from results-oriented acting (‘I want to look sad’) to motive-oriented acting (‘I want what the character wants, and if I feel that fully, it will show through.’) The Super Objective, or ‘spine of a character, represents the inner battle that creates the emotional tension between the character and the narrative. In a corporate context it equates to the purpose that lights the motivational fire in the team’s belly: the reason they’ll put in extra effort, try again after a setback or pursue goals that are many years in the making. It is the riveting stuff, and change will not happen in our organisations without it.

The key thing about a Super Objective is it is always based on a fundamental human need. Things like ‘keeping our customers happy’ and ‘achieving record sales’ are objectives, but they’re not Super Objectives. If we can articulate that we’re fighting for something that matters, we can spark change in even the staunchest opponents.

[i] Whyman, Rose, The Stanislavsky System of Acting: Legacy and influence in modern performance, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, 2008.

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