Launches and Food: How to win hearts through stomachs

change change leadership change management engagement launch organisational change stakeholder engagement stakeholder management success Oct 25, 2022
Lata in blue top looking up and laughing; text: launches and food: how to win hearts through stomachs

It’s no secret that I’m a foodie and food is such an important part of my life that I think it’s an essential element of any change launch. We’re socially programmed to connect food with celebration: think of the treats you got as kids, the feasts at holidays and special events, the 3-course dinners at weddings, and even the snacks for a road trip. 


Food is a basic human need but it drives a social and psychological purpose as well. And they say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach (yep, that’s totally how I won over my partner Josh!). But I can’t think of one friend who’s a woman who doesn’t like food either! In fact, I can only count 3 people in my entire life for whom food was blah - they ate for nourishment and nutrition alone and one even said to me: “Lata, if I could take a tablet and get all my nutritional needs, I’d prefer to do that.” (**yes, my mouth was hanging open in horror not salivation**). 


Crazy non-foodies aside, most people like food and most people like free. So bringing free food into your change launch is an awesome way to win hearts and butter people up with celebratory goodwill for the awkwardness, confusion, and teething issues that comes with the early stages of any change:


Branded food

Look, if you're a greenie like me, you don't want another launch-branded USB (it's called the cloud, people!). So doing food branded with your change theme can be a more sustainable (and DELICIOUS!) option. Local food suppliers or caterers can be super flexible with your brief and deliver it straight to site. I recall about 60 teal-coloured cupcakes with little branded flags for my first-ever Change launch. The way to a team member's heart is through their sweet tooth!


Add food to posted packs

I talked about this on last week’s blog post of 25 creative ideas for change launches. Working remote or hybrid can make launching change super hard but with a bit of pre-planning and budget you can totally pull together a pack with info, guides, items, non-perishable food and goodies and post it out to staff homes. Working global? Get local Change Champions to lead the assembly and distribution of the packs. 


Meal event

For smaller teams or by team, host a sit-down or standing breakfast, brunch, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea, evening drinks or even dinner. Treating people to a meal makes them feel super special and garner commitment and interest in your change launch. Got folks at home? Arrange a meal delivery service so they can join virtually and participate in the fun.


Project team dinner

You might not do this right at go-live but it’s super important to show appreciation for the hard work and usually extra discretionary effort (long nights before launch, anyone?) from the project team when you’ve launched and the dust has settled. Don’t let it go too long - 1-2 weeks post-launch max. You might even invite a few key stakeholders, because a happy little gratitude piece like this could pave the way with goodwill for your next change.


I cover all these elements - getting stakeholders on board, celebrating success, and leading through change to the next one - in my Leading Successful Change program. Our next Monthly Coaching Call is Wednesday 2 November so come join the program, jump onto the call and ask your questions around winning hearts through... any means (including food!).


CLICK HERE to join Leading Successful Change


Lata xx

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