How to Avoid Becoming Jack Skellington: Shaping Your Vision

By Anna Giberson  - Instructional Designer

It’s that time of year again where you might be wondering when it’s time for the annual rewatch of Tim Burton’s classic film The Nightmare Before Christmas—were you supposed to watch it in October to fit it in with Halloween festivities? Or December as a break from all the movies full of Christmas cheer? Or maybe even November, as it’s technically still before Christmas and there’s a lack of holiday films centered on Thanksgiving? Regardless of when (or if) you choose to re-watch it, you’ve probably never considered it as a perfect case study for change management!

Perhaps you’re in a situation with your company or your team where something needs to change—your same routine isn’t working anymore, company leadership is requesting a new direction, or you see another company or team doing something you absolutely have to try (like Jack Skellington discovering Christmas).

When implementing a change at your company or team, you want it to be successful. While there are many elements that go into effective change management, an essential one is to shape your vision—to create and clearly convey what the outcome of this change will look like. After learning about Christmas, Jack Skellington decides that the denizens of Halloween Town should handle Christmas festivities that year. Yet despite his vision of making Christmas, he doesn’t clearly convey it to the townspeople, resulting in a terrifying and twisted approximation of Christmas.

While the outcome of a failed change management attempts at your company might not be children screaming as their presents attack them, the consequences can still be grim. So, what can you do to avoid becoming Jack Skellington? When working on shaping your vision as a part of change management, ask yourself the following questions:

- Do I know what the desired outcome of this change is?
- Do I know why this desired outcome is important/relevant/useful?
- Do my employees understand the desired outcome of this change?
- Do my employees support the desired outcome of this change?

If you’re unsure of some of these questions, it’s worth taking the time to think through your vision, clearly define the outcomes, and convey that information to your team. If you can confidently answer “Yes!” to these questions, you’re on your way to implementing a successful change! Now whenever you watch The Nightmare Before Christmas, you can rest assured that you wouldn’t make the same mistakes as Jack Skellington.



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