Want to Get People Excited About Change?  Try These Four Tips From the Israeli Military

Want to Get People Excited About Change? Try These Four Tips From the Israeli Military

Want to ignite some excitement around a new initiative? Need a way to infuse your team with enthusiasm?  Or inspire employees about a new product roll-out?

During a recent assignment in the Golan Heights near the Syrian border, I had an opportunity to observe a recruitment event for high school students conducted by the Israeli military.

As I watched, I witnessed the recruiters quickly, almost magically, connect with the students on an emotional, spiritual and physical level… and the following four-pronged process can be easily used by anyone introducing change.200-DSC_2339R5

    Context creates meaning and significance.  The Israeli recruiters used context in two ways:

    First, they laid out a clear purpose.  Several high profile (highly credible) Israeli officials and military heroes spoke briefly about how recruits contribute to the security, history and survival of Israel.
    Desired Outcome:  This gave recruits a real sense of importance, and helped them see how their role in the military is valued and makes a difference.
    200-DSC_2347Second, location.  The event, attended by 4,500 high school students, was held on a hillside overlooking the Syrian Border, a country with whom they have been at war – at varying levels – for decades.
    Desired Outcome:  The location of the event gave immediacy and deeper meaning (context) to the initiative they were being recruited to join.
    As part of the event, organizers orchestrated live fire from tanks and rockets as well as an impressive infantry maneuver.

    200-DSC_2353Desired Outcome: All of this – the sights, sounds, and patriotic spirit demonstrated by the Israeli soldiers – provided a vivid and exciting “picture” designed to appeal to the potential recruits… a picture and/or vision they easily wanted to be a part of.
    After the demonstration, soldiers came off the field and interacted with the students – laughing, talking, singing, and dancing as traditional Israeli and patriotic music, selected specifically for the event, was played.200-DSC_2369

    Desired Outcome:  Make it easy to see they could join the soldiers and live the vision.
    Recruits were given numerous opportunities to experience “the product,” riding in tanks, loading ammunition and feeling part of the process… all done in an atmosphere of fun, exploration and being “cool.”

    200-DSC_2339Desired Outcome:  Reinforce their ability – and the need for them – to be part of the vision.

Okay… so you definitely don’t have an army or tanks and missiles at your fingertips and your product may not be as nifty as theirs.

But I’ve seen leaders use their charisma (and their contacts with highly visible athletes, celebrities, and executives) to create excitement, energy, and inspiration to roll out a new leadership competency model, introduce the next generation of products, rearrange leadership structure… and even introduce a different recipe for mayonnaise!

Where to begin?
Get a small team together and start asking questions:

  • How can we build meaningful context around this initiative?
  • What is our real purpose?
  • How can we make this initiative come alive for employees?
  • How can we build connections through visuals, music, movement, and the setting to touch all the senses?
  • What’s necessary to get employees fired up enough to want to be part of this event?
  • How do we make it easy for them to get involved, to want to contribute?

Don’t be afraid to really “go for it.”  You will find that acceptance and engagement increases as you build physical, mental, and emotional connections to your key initiatives!

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