Gain buy-in from change resisters

Gain buy-in from change resisters

Problem: When you were promoted to your management position, you were excited to shake things up and bring some much-needed changes to your department and organization. You quickly learned, however, that some members of your staff are very resistant to change. No matter what you suggest, you’re met with opposition. How do you convince those people that the changes you’re trying to implement are worthwhile?

Solution: Some workers are naturally resistant to change, either because of comfort with the status quo, general stubbornness or fear of what the change could bring. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t gain their support. Follow these tips you get even your most resistant employees on board with change:

  • Watch what you say. Without realizing it, when you emphasize the need for change, you could be offending your team members. Choose your words carefully to avoid inadvertently disrespecting others. Example: You feel that the promotional literature your team provides to potential clients looks so outdated that it’s embarrassing. However, if you say that to employees, you risk offending the people who originally created the materials, and they likely will resist your suggestions if they feel like you’re mocking their efforts. Instead, maintain a respectful, matter-of-fact tone. Say: “Let’s compare our promotional literature to some of our competitors’. To keep it relevant, I’d like to adapt some of the changes they’ve made over the last couple of years.”
  • Anticipate their concerns. No matter how enthusiastic you are about a change, take time to reflect on potential difficulties it could cause for each staff member. Will the change mean more work for some people? Will it eliminate others’ responsibilities—leaving them feeling vulnerable to layoffs? Will it force employees to work outside of their comfort zones? Once you’ve compiled a list of likely concerns, consider how you can ease people’s worries. That way you’ll be prepared with a thorough and thoughtful response when a staffer does raise a concern. Note: Many concerns are completely valid. If there’s risk involved, be honest and open about it. If your team members feel like you gloss over potential problems, they won’t trust you enough to buy in to your plans.
  • Invite others to contribute to the plan. If you show up one day with a flushed-out plan for a major change, don’t be surprised when employees resist it. Your employees are much more likely to buy in to a plan when they feel like they’ve contributed to it. Offer them the opportunity to brainstorm with you and to make their own suggestions. They will be more likely to keep an open mind about the change, and they will likely offer ways to improve your plan.
  • Show appreciation for buy in. When a well-known change resister doesback one of your ideas, don’t ignore the gesture. Tell the person that you appreciate his or her support. Say “I know that you were leery of this plan originally, and I just wanted to say thank you for giving it a chance. Because of your support, others were willing to keep an open mind, and we’re already seeing the change pay off.” That will reinforce the behavior in the future.

Meeting Makeover

Say ‘Goodbye’ to Inefficient, Poorly Run Meetings

Studies show that the average person spends about five hours a week in meetings. Of course, some weeks are more packed with meetings than others, and some employees must attend more meetings than their co-workers. But on average, your employees are spending a good portion of their work hours in meetings.

By following the advice presented in the Meeting Makeover Training Kit, you’ll learn a process for transforming dull, unproductive, time-draining meetings into efficient and effective meetings that make the cost of your employees’ attending them worth it.

This multimedia resource includes:

  • The 20-minute videoLeading 20-Minute Meetings That Matter, with a Trainer’s Guide and a Viewer’s Guide.
  • The 60-minute audio conference presentation Meeting Makeover: Lead Meetings That Grab Employees’ Attention and Spur Them Into Action.
  • A 66-page workbook stuffed full of best practices, guides, tips, quizzes and more.
  • A CD with dozens of print-ready, customizable forms that team leaders and employees can reference again and again.

Learn more!

Click here to receive Bud to Boss: Take 5 once a month, delivered straight to your inbox!

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4 Responses to Gain buy-in from change resisters

  1. As I was writing to another post thread a few weeks back, for a successful change, you have to communicate, communicate and… communicate!!!

    But why? Even for the better, changing means getting out of the routine, sometimes getting out of a comfort zone and adapting to a new environment / new context, which obviously requires a minimum of flexibility to the person experiencing the change.

    In 2002 Miller and Rollnick attributes the resistance to change to 4 possible reasons:
    1. the lack of vision regarding the negative consequences of not changing
    (eg: What will happen if I do not stop eating pizza every evening? Have I been told that I may die from a heart attack in the next 10 years due to my overweight?)
    2. the benefit of not changing
    (eg: I can still enjoy my pizza-party friend every Friday and get this extra-pleasure to kick the week-end)
    3. the lack of vision about the benefit of changing
    (eg: Is there a benefit? I don’t know, I’ve been eating pizza every evening for the past 10 years and I’m happy like that! Why changing? Has everybody explained my I can win back 10 years of my life by changing this habit now?)
    4. the adequation between the change hurdles and obstacles and the available resources for changing.
    (eg: will I get support by my family and friends in this challenge or am I on my own? Can I tackle this case on my own?)

    From experience, communicating on the 4 above points at every stage of the change will help you to make it easier.

    While communicating on the 4 above questions, one key point remains though to make sure to answer the question “so what?” as well. Indeed you need to make clear what the change will personally bring to the person experiencing it. Else, believe me, you will soon face the question: “why should I change?”

    Not only you should over-communicate but it is also key to engage directly your peers, managers and teams directly by asking to share their concerns and ideas around those 4 points. (Being involved on building the future makes things normally much more exciting for everybody…) Now obviously, some changes are not negotiable; then make it clear, focusing back on answering the 4 questions above.

    As a final note; make sure to identify “quick wins” while implementing your change and act on those first. Keep in mind that there is nothing better than success in getting a change accepted…

    These were my 2 cents on the change topic!

  2. Pingback: innocence, resistance, and responsibility – 3 ways of relating to change « power of language blog: partnering with reality by JR Fibonacci

  3. Pingback: 10 things you shouldn’t say to your boss | Nitpickers' Nook

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