Appreciative inquiry and brand building
Rebranding a firm is a tall order, because you are dealing with people. Actual people… And you try to change things they do. People resist change for many reasons. Yet, your job is to convince them to embrace the change.
At the start of every project, before you start stakeholder consultation, you have two options: You can do probably what 90% of consultants do (i.e. Identify the problem, determine areas for improvement, set objectives, empower people and measure success) or you can do it the unorthodox way. (i.e. Focus on what is already working and build on it). I choose the latter. Here is why…
The universally accepted consulting methodology focuses on the problem and places most of the effort to righting what is wrong. The problem with this approach is that from the get go you anchor yourself into the negative territory. You assume the role of a doctor who is trying to treat a patient. I would like to believe that employees don’t want to be treated as diseased people. Personally, I wouldn’t. Maybe this flawed logic is responsible for the following two mind-boggling stats: 75% of M&A’s fail. 86% of place branding projects fail within a year of introduction. I think the main reason is consultants’ failure to factor in the human aspect of business.
Here is an alternative approach… Focus on the common denominator and try to enlarge the foundation! This is the methodology I recommend you to embrace. I never look at my clients’ brands as “things to be fixed.” People do things in certain ways and they get used to it. As long as everybody buys into the overall vision and know that their individual behaviour contributes to the big picture, letting them do what they have been doing is the smartest thing. My experience tells me that companies that do the opposite suffer from above-industry turnover rates, unhappy employees and low productivity.
You can use appreciative inquiry in all stages of a project. But keep in mind that the way you start a project will dictate how you will go forward. Therefore, I highly recommend you to adopt appreciative inquiry during stakeholder consultation phase. Ask them positive questions, get positive answers, make them feel engaged and motivated.Llast thing you want is a pissed off stakeholder who will sabotage the entire project.
Today’s actionable insight: The questions you ask impact the answers you get. Keep in mind that the interviewee will receive signals from the questions you ask. You want the interviewee to feel positive and engaged. Don’t treat your clients as patients. If you do so, you will perceive everything as things to be fixed.