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THE CHANGE STORY – AT THE HEART OF CHANGE COMMUNICATION

The change story is more than just a list of new goals. It really does tell a story – THE story of the change process or a larger project. This means addressing and sharing emotions in addition to communicating the sober facts and figures relating to the change. And it is a story that lives and evolves with the ongoing process of change.

TRANSPORTING FACTS AND EMOTIONS – THROUGH THE CHANGE STORY

If people are to engage in change processes, they need to feel seen and heard – especially on the emotional level. Accordingly, a change story combines straightforward facts with emotions in words and pictures. It conveys why a transformation or a project is necessary and sensible, what the associated goals are and how they can be achieved – in a plausible way. The change story conveys new visions, strategies, goals and values in an understandable package.

Why a Change Story is so Important

Changes are brought about by people. When people are to be motivated to create and live change, numbers, data and facts are not the only important success factors. It is also about enthusiasm, emotional identification and seeing the change project as a combined undertaking.

A good change story deals with all relevant aspects of the change:

  • Sense and purpose: Why do we want to change? Where does the need to change come from?
  • Vision: How do we see our future?
  • Name: What is the title of our own Change Story?
  • Stakeholders: Who is affected and how? Which stakeholders will be affected by what?
  • Result: What do we develop further? What will remain as it was? What will be new?
  • Targets: When can we say that our change has succeeded?
  • Subject areas: Which fields of action are we tackling?
  • Dramaturgy: Where do we start? How do we proceed?
  • Principles: What is our ‘safety net’? What can employees rely on in the change process?

CIDPARTNERS: STORYTELLING BECAUSE WE BELIEVE IN IT

As a management consultancy based in Bonn and Berlin, cidpartners has been facilitating organizations in change processes since 2006. Our mission: to turn companies into winners of change through releasing the collective intelligence available in organizations and teams. We pursue this mission by developing change stories with our clients – and if necessary we also support them in change communication, which follows on in the next logical step.

Our broadly based team includes strategy and communication experts, experienced organizational developers, consultants for agile project management, new work experts as well as specialists for creativity and design. Would you like to find out more about a typical change story case?

Please get in touch with us. We look forward to getting to know you and finding out how we can help.

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HOW A CHANGE STORY UNFOLDS

A change story does not get thought up in some quiet back office by a single person. A change story can only communicate effectively by incorporating a range of different viewpoints. This is how a team might proceed:

Development of Prototype 1

Management and an change team set up for the purpose develop an initial change story prototype during a workshop – using suitable aids such as the ‘change story canvas’. Many different aspects are taken into account: "What are the reasons for the change?", "What strategic objectives should the project achieve?", "What would happen if nothing was done and things just continue as they are?", "What are the possible consequences or opportunities for those involved?", "What final state is envisioned and how can it be gauged?“

Development of Visual Representations

A good change story works even better if it is visually persuasive and can be quickly and easily understood. Content in the form of images, icons and videos content is integrated with support from professionals and using media that are suitable and engaging for the organization and those involved.

Testing and Development of Prototype 2

The change team develops the first prototype further into a second prototype together with other stakeholders in the organization. Prototype 2 includes visual content and has been optimized to reflect initial findings.

Presentation of Prototype 2 to Top Management and Approval

The second version of the prototype is presented to the Board which gives its approval if required.

Finalization and Publication of the Change Story

After a final graphic polish, the story is presented to the staff. It is important at this stage to integrate the change story into the overall communication of the change process.

Continous Further Development

As the change process evolves, so does the change story. With digitalization and technological progress rapidly gaining pace, we can be sure that more and more organizations will be subjected to ongoing change.

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Peter Tschernes special strengths lie in accompanying development processes and designing internal communication architectures.

Peter Tscherne

Partner

+49.228-25 90 85.0

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VIVIDNESS, EMOTIONALITY AND MORE: CHANGE STORY ESSENTIALS

  • Emotions: People don't just want to be deluged with numbers, facts and figures. They also need to feel addressed an emotional level. The story should enthuse and soften resistance, so that ideally everyone feels they can go along with it.
  • Co-creation: Joint development of the change story with top-level management, middle management, the change team, graphic designers and change experts will generate and integrate the best ideas. It is precisely the blend of different perspectives that makes the perfect change story.
  • Stakeholder involvement: Important stakeholders should be involved in the process of developing a change story. This increases the overall acceptance of the change process or planned project – and maximizes its sustainability.
  • Iteration: The use of prototypes makes for an unpressured approach to the subject. It is reassuring to know that things may be changed later and the first draft doesn’t have to be perfect. On the contrary, the experience gained from finding out what doesn’t work is what optimizes the final result.
  • Creativity and relevance: Our cooperation with professional creative agencies enables us to highlight the special features of each change story – and increases acceptance levels. Video, audio and other elements are used to achieve the tone and degree of dynamism that the client wants.
  • Participation: Work can be fun, and especially as far as change stories are concerned, productivity, fun and a dash of humour are by no means mutually exclusive. On the contrary, cooperation across hierarchical levels and company divisions increases networking and productivity enormously – as well as broadening the horizon of each person who is involved.