It’s always been challenging to successfully lead change, and these times make it harder.

I spent 2 days this week training change leaders in the public service. They tell me they are tired. Their people are tired. They are finding it hard to generate the energy to change.

This week, I also worked with a client grappling with a similar challenge.

This client has used foresight to read the shifting tides around them. They recognise the need for transformational change, and that the window to take action is closing.

The pandemic has taken a toll.

They are struggling to get their teams on board. “Why change now?” their people ask. There’s no need to fix what isn’t yet broken.

So I am writing scenarios.

One scenario shows their people how thoughtful action today becomes the foundation of our success tomorrow.

Another tells the story of holding steady, keeping anchored to what serves us now, how what is comfortable and familiar today slowly constrains and strangles us.

A third cautionary scenario plays out the risk of committing to this ambitious change, and not being adequately resourced to follow through.

I’m telling them a story of what is possible if we act, the danger of becoming comfortably numb, and what is at risk if we lose our nerve.

At heart, we are storytellers.

When rational arguments for change fall short, stories about where we are going if we act (or choose not to) can tap into deeper wells of motivation, and give us the courage to continue.