How to make a convincing case for change

The success of a transformation initiative is directly related to the quality of the case for change.

As Simon Sinek has taught us ‘start with the WHY’. Its purpose is to create commitment for the desired situation as well as dismantle commitment for the way it was.

It is especially important to make a strong convincing case for change when an organisation is not on fire or in a state of crisis. Why the need for change? What is the end goal? And what happens if we do nothing? ​

Generally, the case for change is put in writing, but the message won’t always convince the different stakeholders sufficiently. Consequently, this will cause problems during the transformation process itself. This can manifest in several different ways: lack of perceived priority, issues about freeing up manpower and means, or resistance towards the direction of the new chosen path. These are symptoms forcing you back to the change case and improving it. But how do you build a case for change which truly convinces the audience? What does and doesn’t it contain? ​

Why should we change now?

When answering this question, organisations typically make a link between the strategy and the change initiative that should take place. Although that is a good start, what tends to be missing is a well-rounded stakeholder perspective.

Can you think from a different perspective when envisioning your specific change initiative? What does this mean for shareholders, but also for employees and for customers? How are different departments affected? When building your case, take these different stakeholders into account.


Why can’t we continue the way we are?

Often, this second question remains unanswered.  However, the answer is essential to make a stronger case for change; it requires an analysis of the data that outlines the implications of changing or not changing. It also requires uncovering rather uncomfortable messages about the here and now.


In her book “The Nutcracker”, Anne Kloosterboer presents practical tips, tools and case examples on how to crack the 50 typical ‘hard nuts’ in a change journey. Making a convincing case for change is Challenge #1. Find out practical tips for leaders and enablers to make YOUR change story convincing.

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