I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve seen the movie, “Field of Dreams.” It’s right up there with one of the best baseball movies of all time. It’s a story about an All-American father named Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner) that recently purchased his first farm and like anyone new to something, had no idea what he was doing. No idea until he had this vision.
Except his vision wasn’t for the crops he would grow. It was for the crops he would cut down to build a baseball field smack there in the middle.
Seemingly crazy vision right? But he believed one simple thing: if he built it, they would come.
With the support of his wife, Ray set out to build the greatest baseball diamond the state of Iowa had ever seen. He used every resource available and was consistently told by his brother how crazy he was; how much he needed to declare bankruptcy because he was close to financial ruin, and that he would never make a return on his investment. His wife’s belief in him started to wane also until she first witnessed the ghost of Shoeless “Joe” Jackson, one of the greatest baseball players of all time. His brother even came around when he witnessed the ghost of Moonlight Graham rush off the field to save the life of Ray’s choking daughter. It was simple, until his wife and brother believed in his vision, they just weren’t capable of seeing how amazing his ambitious project could be.
Word soon spread, and before Ray knew it, thousands of cars were pouring in across Iowa’s horizon. Every fan growing up with the dream of seeing the 1919 White Sox again were soon to be rewarded.
So you ask, what does this movie have in common with change management?
The Vision and Belief.
Any large change initiative can be faced with ridicule, disbelief, anger, confusion, and the countless other versions of these words. Even the leader of the organization involved can face difficulties with their closest advisors and colleagues like Ray did with his brother. What can the leader of an organization do when he is faced with these challenges? Recognize that sharing his vision is not enough. He must seek to foster the same desire for that vision to be successful across his entire organization.
A leader can start by sharing his belief of how the change will improve his organization. Why it is important for his organization to change? Why should he even acknowledge the risks involved to assure his biggest opponents he isn’t blinded by a vision? Ray knew his Field of Dreams was a risk as it nearly bankrupted his whole family, and luckily for him, was able to gain the support and desire needed from his family to bring fans to the ballpark.
Organizations don’t need to wait until they are lucky enough for the Ghost of Moonlight Graham to walk off a baseball field to inspire a major initiative, though. In part two of this series, I’m going to cover how Vertiba’s change management team helped leadership from one of the country’s top 25 largest metropolitan area governments align their vision of a successful Salesforce implementation with the varying goals of 14 unique agencies.
Stay tuned and leave a comment with your change story!