No More Burning Platforms – PLEASE!

Anyone who has ever had accountability for Change Management knows the story of the burning platform. Managers frequently use this analogy to help employees understand that the current situation is not sustainable, and they need to jump from this burning platform to a new future.

In the story, the choice is to remain on the burning platform, and surely die, or jump into the cold North Sea and possibly survive. Neither appealing, but certainly one is better than the other. In my experience, employees can’t see the fire, or even the smoke, but they know that the water is cold.

Over the last six months, I have been encouraging leaders I work with to stop talking about the burning platform. I ask them, “What does winning look like in the new order?”. I encourage them to talk about the Gold Medal Platform.

Having a clear, exciting vision of the future, and demonstrating that you know what it takes to get there are the most powerful things managers can bring to their people.

So please, encourage your leaders to paint the picture of what it means to win the gold. Lead your employees by helping them earn their way to that platform, and don’t just get them to jump from where they are.

One Response to No More Burning Platforms – PLEASE!

  1. I TOTALLY agree with this. People need to get comfortable with change because it is a way of life, not because it’s about survival alone. Although, refusal to deal with change may leave you in the dust. I just read that Kotter now emphasizes the burning platform … and this is coming from a scholastic perspective versus business experience, take it for what it is worth.

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