20 October 2016


When leading a company through a major change, it is sometimes best to putting oneself first.

The WIIFM approach - What's in it for me? - is part of our natural psychology and ensures that our basic needs such as sense of belonging, security and self-esteem are satisfied.

At first glance, this approach may appear to be a blatant disregard for others, but in reality it is about first satisfying one's own needs and then being more predisposed to do the same for others and their own organisation.

The key is to embrace the vision from the inside out.

Putting the WIIFM approach before the WIIFO approach - What's in it for the organisation? (What's in it for the organisation?) requires a delicate balance between maturity, self-awareness e overview.

To achieve balance and to be effective, one must go through some basic steps. Below we will discuss the three steps that successful leaders must put into practice.



  • Taking the pulse of your organisation

During periods of change, leaders cannot afford to lose sight of what these transitions will mean for everyone involved. One must balance all the pros and cons and understand how the change will affect employees in terms of communication, group dynamics and workload.

According to recent McKinsey Global data, 70% of the time a change management initiative fails, but with due diligence it is possible to lead your organisation to the positive side of statistics.

  • Take care of yourself ... and the rest will follow!

Leaders must meet their own needs in order to be able to invest in the changes that are at hand. It is important for the leader to ask himself how he will be affected by this new direction and make sure he is in line with the new concepts, otherwise, if employees feel that the leader is not on board, they will not join him.

Taking the WIIFM approach into consideration before applying it to the whole organisation will save time and money in identifying staff needs, priorities and requirements. It is necessary to embrace change in order to motivate others to do the same.

Consider the example of a large US company that frequently uses the WIIFM method for strategic planning and change management. The result? Once their needs are met, leaders are more likely to communicate the value of change to their employees and are thus able to convey an appropriate message that, thanks to the cascading effect, reaches out to colleagues throughout the organisation.

  • Uniting for the cause

Once the change planning phase is over, it is necessary to bring theWIIFO approach to induce employees to follow the example of leaders.

In the United States at the beginning of a three-day training session for civil servants working in the transport sector the participants were reluctant to involvement, and to make them more active, the focus shifted to how they could personally transform their organisations in better places where their ideas would count. By doing so, they felt involved and set a proactive attitude in motion.

Indeed, at a time when almost 50% of American workers say they feel unappreciated in the workplace, the fact that the company used the WIIFM method has spurred to collaboration between colleagues and encouraged them to share their ideas and invest in the future of the organisation.

Change can cause anxiety for both CEOs and employees, but accepting a level of personal needs allows one to transcend to a more holistic view.

As an old proverb reminds us, we must love ourselves before we can truly love othersTherefore, by virtue of this principle, leaders must accept and embrace the WIIFM approach before they are truly able to take charge of their organisation.