When transformation initiatives are introduced into organizations, they typically evoke bifurcated emotions, which are directly opposed to each other – and strangely enough, these feelings are often resident within each discrete individual.

The first emotion is the visible one that people display outwardly, and is based on the mind, the head, and the intellect. This emotion is supported by the rational brain, which understands on an intrinsic level that improvement is good and necessary for organizations and individuals to evolve and remain competitive. It is evidenced by active verbal participation in supporting transformation initiatives and “Saying all the right things,” regarding getting behind the effort and endorsing the people and processes designed to enable these new programs, perhaps even volunteering to help lead various aspects and committees.

But don’t be deceived – there is a big difference between the head and the heart.

While this first intellectual, cerebral, and “head” involvement is important, it is the emotional aspect – the heart – that ultimately determines the success or failure of the transformation initiative.

If the adage is true that people buy emotionally, and they justify logically (which in my experience has repeatedly proven very accurate) then it is essential that people buy in to business transformation on an emotional level in order for it to succeed.

To do this, the outcome of the transformation must appeal to people on a deep, feeling level. It should be described in specific, tangible, and tactile detail how this program will directly impact their personal well-being and it should offer personal emotional rewards in the form of greater respect or reputation, increased efficiency and therefore more time (for other pursuits, for family, etc.), as well as less stress or complexity or chaos in their daily life. It can also appeal to greater career freedom to increase creative pursuits within the context of their existing position, or automating mundane, repeatable tasks, freeing up people to take on greater responsibility, and possibly enjoy the associated increased compensation and visibility within the corporate hierarchy.
Regardless of the semantics, unless the transformation initiative is presented in a way that captures the heads and hearts of participants, then the outcome could likely be jeopardized.