Business must evolve and change. Stagnant leaders and businesses may enjoy success for a time, but continued success relies on changing and developing.
Whosoever desires constant success must change his conduct with the times. Niccolò Machiavelli
Although expressed five centuries ago, the Italian philosopher’s words are deep-rooted, and certainly ring true today. In this briefing we’ll explore how you can create buy-in from your employees through demonstrating purposeful change.
Change isn’t easy
Change doesn’t come easy, though, and people are often resistant to it. Forcing change upon employees doesn’t work in the long-run because they haven’t bought into the new ideas.
Rather than taking the initiative and running with the innovation, your disgruntled workforce will return to the status quo at the earliest opportunity.
Often, as the change leader, you can feel powerless when trying to evolve your business.
Anticipating the presence of hurdles is vital. As Manns and Rising discuss in a Graziadio Business Review study, “…leading change is not a science. Rather, it is a gradual process of discovery that prompts the leaders to react to problems, setbacks, and small successes along the way.”
Creating purposeful change
For your employees to rise to the challenges generated by change, the upheaval must demonstrate purpose and value. Change needs to happen for a reason.
So where do you start and how do you affect real, purposeful change in your organization?
- Share overall objectives
- Get buy-in from influencers
- Demonstrate the benefits of change
- Communicate frequently
- Use feedback to adjust and improve
Share overall objectives
Clearly a workforce that is well-informed about the objectives of any change will feel more involved and empowered. Make sure you can answer key questions:
- What is the purpose of the change?
- Where do you hope to drive the organization?
- What isn’t working that demonstrates a need for the change?
Get buy-in from influencers
Every business has key influencers, and they aren’t necessarily part of your management team. These are the people who often speak for others in their department or who you will find other employees rallying around. It is particularly important that these vocal employees see the benefit of change.
Find out who they are, then bring together a core team, comprised of managers and key employee influencers to get their buy-in first. If you introduce your ideas to the entire staff before getting buy-in from your influencers, you could set yourself up for failure.
Demonstrate the benefits of change
If management and key employees are going to commit to the change, they don’t just need to know why the change is happening, they also need to know what’s in it for them. Why and how will the change benefit their department and themselves?
Once employees know what’s in it for them, don’t demand change, rather ask for their participation.
As your change strategy goes into effect, be sure to communicate frequently with everyone involved. Regular, sustainable communication will help to keep the change moving forward.
And remember that communication is a two-way street. Be sure employees and management, especially your core team, can communicate with you in an open, non-threatening way.
Use feedback to adjust and improve
For change to be effective, sometimes even your best-laid plans need modifications. So be flexible during change, and be willing and ready to use feedback from your workforce to improve on your ideas and create collective initiatives.
In Change or Die, Alan Deutschman explores how individuals will often not alter their behavior, even when their unhealthy habits may result in premature death. Although change can be frightening, don’t let this apathy define you or your business. Change, while difficult and time-consuming, can be the mainstay that sets your organization above your competition.
As Peter Drucker once said ….
“People who don’t take risks generally make about two big mistakes a year. People who do take risks generally make about two big mistakes a year.”