The Power of a Compelling ‘Why’ in Change Management

As change practitioners, we understand the pivotal role of clear communication in navigating organizational transformations. However, the secret sauce lies in crafting a compelling “why” that transcends mere awareness and sparks a genuine desire for change. In this article, we’ll explore the significance of a compelling “why” within the Prosci methodology, specifically the ADKAR model, and provide practical insights for creating a message that inspires action.


The Importance of the “Why” in Change Management

Setting the Stage:

Effective change management goes beyond outlining the “what” of a project; it delves into the fundamental “why” that propels individuals to embrace transformation. Drawing parallels with the shift to remote work during the early days of the pandemic, we’ll emphasize that the motivational force behind change lies in the reason for the change, not merely the change itself.

The Motivational Impact:

Explore how a strong “why” serves as the driving force during organizational changes, whether implementing a new manufacturing process, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiative, or enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. Understanding the motivational impact of the “why” sets the foundation for successful change adoption.


The ADKAR Model and the Role of “Why”

Navigating the ADKAR Model:

Delve into the Prosci ADKAR Model, breaking down its five stages: Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability, and Reinforcement. Highlight how a compelling “why” accelerates the progression through the initial stages of Awareness and Desire, laying the groundwork for seamless change adoption.


Leadership Communication:

Address the common pitfall of leaders and sponsors focusing solely on the “what” and “how” of change, neglecting the critical “why.” Stress the importance of effective communication that incorporates a compelling “why” to drive behavioral change, foster a shift in thinking, and ensure the successful implementation of solutions.


Crafting and Communicate
Your Why in Change Management

Building a compelling why for a change is a worthwhile effort that will lead your team to action. Using the model below along with our downloadable worksheet, you can work through each element in numerical order. Start with Logic, then move to Emotion, and so on. Be sure to build on each element, expanding on the content to arrive at your compelling why for change.


Building the Business Case:

Begin with the rational, data-driven aspect by understanding the business case for change. While logic alone may not inspire action, it forms the foundation for a well-rounded narrative.


Emotion – Connecting on a Personal Level:

Acknowledge the importance of addressing emotions during change, answering the “What’s in it for me?” question. Connect the logical reasons for change to personal values, beliefs, and feelings.


Visual – Simplifying Complexity:

Highlight the significance of visual elements in conveying complex ideas. Guide readers on using visualization prompts to create a clear picture of the destination, steps, progress, and benefits.


Story – Bringing the “Why” to Life:

Emphasize the power of storytelling in synthesizing complex information into a compelling narrative. Encourage crafting a memorable story that aligns with the visual and emotional elements, making the “why” more relatable and impactful.



In the realm of change management, a compelling “why” is the linchpin that propels organizations and individuals toward successful transformation. By understanding and incorporating the elements of the ADKAR model, coupled with a thoughtful approach to crafting a compelling narrative, change practitioners can elevate their change management strategy and inspire lasting change.

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