Start with the WHY

Simon Sinek's TED talk, How Great Leaders Inspire Action, is the 3rd most popular TED of all time. He recognised that people like Martin Luther King Jr., Steve Jobs, and the Wright Brothers had little in common, but they all started with WHY. They realised that people won’t truly buy into a product, service, movement, or idea until they understand the WHY behind it.

This is so true - and we've seen it over and over in the workplace during times of change. The problem is, it is so often ignored or pushed into the background.

The WHY of change has to be central to the whole project. Communication and training needs to focus on the people (why am I doing this?) not the project (what, when, where is going to happen) or the Product (how).

Don't limit training to product know how

Teaching people the 'how-to' is the easy part. Use search, google the answer, follow an instructional video, do the steps 1,2,3,4. That addresses the technology side - however it doesn’t address the people aspect.

Simply instructing someone how to use something will not ensure they actually benefit from it - or continue to use it - or see how to build it into their work practices.

Most how-to training also lacks context - like when to use what tool and in what circumstances, showing easy to follow examples.

How do we do that?


  • Consider the impacts to the person's job, eg will it add or save time?
  • What about their role - will that change in some way?
  • What about if it simply doesn’t help? Are you enforcing the use of new tools? Or are they optional?


  • A really handy, easy-to-relate-to way to communicate how people will be impacted is to identify behaviours that they will need to STOP and the behaviours they will need to START that will replace them.
  • If there is a behavioural change required how will people react? Will they embrace, adapt or block these changes?
  • What (and who) will influence people to move to new ways of working?

Leading by example

  • Messaging has to come from the top - the leadership team. People will only ever invest themselves in something if they can see that it is important to the people steering the ship.
  • The leadership team need to SHOW their commitment to the change by taking part, and from this will flow empathy for the impacts everyone will experience when they're going through the change.
  • Who is leading this change? And how?

Training is, sadly, one of the first things to get cut when a project runs low on time, budget or resource. Money doesn't need to be spent in huge amounts on development when implementing Office 365, so funds can instead be invested in people. Doing this upfront will result in increased usage, adoption, and organic growth. The cost of NOT doing this will far outweigh the cost of doing it.

If you haven't watched Simon Sinek's TED, where he illustrates that "people don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it" - go do that. And then make sure you know the why behind your change before you go any further!

Other blog posts coming Oct-Nov

  • The Birds of Change
  • People, Project or Product - focusing on the human aspects rather than the technology
  • The Tale of Two Companies - follow customer journeys down different paths
  • Blended learning - what works with training these days
  • Ongoing engagement - keep the spark alive and continue the momentum!

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We are also launching a brand new course on implementing Office 365, encompassing all these gems. Stay tuned for more!