Movember: A Change Management Masterclass

Dec 03, 2021
Any of you who know anything about Movember will realize just how brilliant the people at Movember are at making change happen. Indeed, I'd go as far to say, that if you follow the six steps I'm sharing with you today from their approach, you'll be absolutely fine next time you're out there in the jungles of change!

6-Step Change Management Masterclass

This week I was working with an amazing group of professionals from a London university and I shared this story of Movember and why they are so good at helping others make change happen. I used it as an example because it was the last day of growing my annual Mo and they really do cover the whole range of change making activities. Really, this is the story of why I've been doing it and why I think you should do it next year.

1 - A Sense of Urgency

The first strategy is a sense of urgency. If you want people to change, a deadline always seem to help. Movember is one month a year. It's a scarce resource. In fact, it's even got one less day than a number of other months - only 30 days to do everything that you might want to do when it comes to the really important tasks of growing a mo and raising awareness of the gaps in men's health. That scarcity works for you in so many ways when it comes to making change happen. Movember is all about big impact and they make that impact by inspiring people like me to get out there and help to raise awareness of the issues that sit behind the whole campaign. And, because I've only got 30 days I have to think about it almost daily.
That sense of urgency makes an impact on others too, especially when it comes to donating. I set myself a target and just when I was about £50 off that number, in came a donation for £50 to help me reach that goal in my timeframe. Later, I did another little surge and got within about £15 of the next big number and guess what happened this morning? A £15 donation came in, just in time. How can you build a sense of urgency into your change?

2 - Fun

 The second strategy is fun. How much more fun can you have than growing some strange slug on your face? And I found that the stranger the shape of it, the better! Movember helped us fundraisers by supplying us with loads of images to put on campaign pages. I asked the people who were thinking of donating to my campaign, "Which one should i grow?" The answer, the Trucker, a full blown moustache with handlebars down to my chin! Because I'm having fun with it, the people I interact with are also on that level of levity. And when people are having fun, they're actually more open to learning and more open to the messages that you're sharing.
Those of you who know the whole story of Movember will realize it didn't even start in the charitable arena. It was just a bunch of blokes having a bit of fun. They've done well to maintain that energy as it has spread globally.

3 - Prepare for Resistance

The third reason you should look at Movember as a change management masterclass is because they thoroughly understand the resistance to change that some people have, in fact many people have. Now, whether they aware of the theory or whether it was just intuition, it doesn't really matter. The outcome is they've put this whole movement together in a way that thoroughly understands where the resistance to change might happen and they shift and they manoeuvre and work through different ways of doing things to just get more and more people involved. It's that sense of involvement that really kicks in. That's when you start to understand why Movember is so successful.
You see there are three things you need to do if you want to engage people in a change you're trying to achieve. Think about these next three strategies and I know your next change will be much more successful.

4 - Engage Heads

Let's start with the head as our fourth Movember strategy because that's where most people start when they try to convince people that they need to do something different. With the emphasis on "trying to convince them" we nail them down with facts. We give them logic, we drown them in data. And although I'm presenting this in a dramatic way, don't underestimate the power of data. It's really useful. Go on the Movember site you'll see loads of stats like the fact that the highest rate of suicide in society is amongst young men, like the fact that there's a sizeable gap when all things are equal between the life expectancy of men and women, like the fact that the
funds they have raised through Movember has improved the oncology for prostate cancer to the extent that in 2013 they had six identifiable variants and today there are over 50. So there's no shortage of data for those who like to be engaged with their head.

5 - Engage Hearts

However, a lot of people will only move if you can get into their hearts. So how does Movember do that? Well, they pile on the emotion. If you go on their website and look at some of their videos, some are fun, like this one, KNOW THY NUTS, whereas others are really, really tugging at your heartstrings, like this one;
Typically, we're afraid to do that in our change projects. We might stick to the facts, but actually what sways people very often is the emotion and that's why it is strategy number five.

6 - Engage Hands

 Strategy number six is where Movember really gains traction and builds the momentum around everything they do, every year. This is all about the Hands, or, in this case, the face. What they're doing is engaging people on a level which makes them active. People love doing things. Every year I get to grow a mo.

But they don't stop there. They've thought through, how can we make it active for people who aren't growing a mo? One way is to make it easy for people to "actively" watch the progress of the Mo and receive updates via campaign pages with notifications.

Another tactic has been to create something for people to do who can't grow moustaches, So we have the Mo Sista Movement, there is Move-mber for people to set activity goals and there are Mo-ments to encourage people to set up quizzes and all sorts of fun-draising activities with friends and colleagues.

A Theory of Change

But let's go back to a little bit of change management theory. Kurt Lewin thought that the way to make change happen in organizations was to Unfreeze things, Change them and then Re-freeze them. This works brilliantly in short spaces of times and with little changes. The challenges we have today are the caused by the massive changes going on all at the same time. I don't think anything has an opportunity to freeze again.

However, as I suggested, this theory works well in a focused campaign like the ones Movember are leading. Here's how the core activity maps to theory:

  • Unfreeze = you've got to have a clean shaven face on November 1st
  • Change - grow your mo, raise awareness of men's health issues and raise money
  • Re-freeze - the Great Shave Off on December 1st at the latest.

If you've enjoyed reading about this, the full video including my great shave off can be found at the click of a pic:

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