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Here are some recommendations on where to start when using the powerful ELSA change framework to lead transformation in an organization:

Imagining the ideal future state is the exciting first step. We always encourage teams to spend quality time envisioning how an average day will feel once the change has successfully happened. What conversations are people having at the coffee machine? How are decisions being made in meetings? What words do people use to describe the organization? Envision the future in vivid detail, using all your senses—touch, sight, sound, smell. This brings the future possibility to life at an emotional level. Get people excited about the destination before you map the journey.

With a compelling vision established, we can start to identify the language patterns, stories, and communications that align with that future state. For example, if the goal is to become more innovative, we would reflect on the specific words innovative teams use—words like experimenting, creativity, trying new approaches. The stories we tell should spark imagination while feeling tangible and familiar. Test messages with different groups to see what resonates most. Keep adjusting until you see an emotional spark of possibility in peoples' eyes as they engage with the language.

From there, identify modest changes to physical spaces like the cafeteria, meeting areas, and office layouts that can facilitate organic sharing of the vision. Maybe we designate a "future innovation lounge" with whiteboards for brainstorming. The goal is to design spaces where the new language and narratives spread through natural interactions. Start small and evolve based on observing what works.

It's also important that people feel psychologically safe to try out using the new language and stories themselves. There should be an openness to failing fast and learning. People must trust that the organization will support them during this experimentation phase. Transparency, empathy and mutual commitment are key.

The beauty of starting with ELSA is that you engage people at an emotional and intellectual level first before restructuring processes. The new behaviors and ways of working will emerge more organically once mindsets begin to shift.

ELSA provides tools to guide the system itself towards the desired future state, not impose change with an iron fist.

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