What's in it for you? More Work! That's what.

That’s right. Whenever a new way of doing things is introduced, you can expect more work to be involved.

Learning professionals, agents of change and anyone bringing news of doing something new or different are trained to tailor presentations and announcements to answer the question, “What’s in it for me? (WIIFM).” The problem is that WIIFM fails to mention the effort involved to make change happen.

No matter what benefits you bring to light for shifting to the new thing, it can’t just happen without those affected working to make the adjustment. Before they can adjust their frame of mind toward doing something differently, your audience needs to know why things are changing. Because it doesn’t matter what’s in it for them if they don’t know what they have to do to achieve that benefit.

Tell them what has changed that requires them to do something new

People are all creatures of habit to some extent or another. When routines are disrupted, knowing why they can’t continue to do something thing the way they’ve always done it helps them to take that first step toward shifting their attitude. Focusing on external driving factors also shifts any resentment away from leadership and the organization.

Tell them what will stay the same

In the midst of change, knowing what will stay the same is a comfort that is vital during transition.

Answer the question WIIFM

While WIIFM alone can be ineffective, it’s still critical to adopting change. You must tell them how the change will benefit them. Keep in mind that people with different backgrounds are motivated by different things; the benefits you devise may not speak to everyone.

Provide specific steps and expectations

Now that everyone is aware of the need to change, they need to know what is expected of them and how to achieve those expectations. Steps to success must be clear and people must be held accountable for taking those steps and achieving stated expectations.

Reward them for their efforts

Celebrate small wins early to recognize them for their effort. Let them know you appreciate everything they do to make the shift a success. Intrinsic rewards hold the most value. For example, hold a reward ceremony in which individuals or groups are recognized for their unique contributions, using “trophies” that symbolize that contribution (i.e. a set of “pom poms” to symbolize a team member that has been a real cheerleader during the transition).

Depending on the situation, these steps may be executed at different stages or all in one presentation. Consider how much time your audience needs to adjust. You may need to allow for a “grieving” process as your people leave the past behind.

What do you think? Has WIIFM been successful in your experience?


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