By: Sandy Stark
5 min read, Business Management

“We have new procedures, but I can’t get my team to commit.”

“I invested in new technology but no one wants to learn it.”

“I’m all in, but my staff are resisting.”

When we hear these and similar sentiments the obvious response seems simple enough – you’re the boss, make it happen. Easier said than done. While at times it is necessary to make fast, executive decisions in a short-term crisis, any effective and respected leader knows an autocratic management style in the long-term can lead to poor productivity, low company morale and high staff turnover. The good news is, it is possible to motivate your staff to buy in to a new way of doing things using a results based approach. Here are some steps you can take to share your plans, ramp up enthusiasm and get everyone on board. 

  1. Know Your Why: Whether introducing new technology, procedures or policies, before you bring changes to your staff, you need to have your why at the ready. Why this change, why now? Ideally, you will connect your why to an emotional purpose. Will the change help others? Secure jobs? How will new software or new policies make a difference? Identify pain points, current weaknesses and future threats the change will solve.

  2. Rally Your Key Players: Influencers are not just found online. Every office has key players the rest of your team will look to for assurance your plan has merit. Present your plans to these individuals first to gain their early adoption so they can champion your cause. If you can’t get their buy in, chances are you are going to have trouble with the rest of the team. Use these early conversations to grind out potential objections and explore different perspectives.

  3. Focus on the Benefits: Here is where you really get to emphasize the value of the change you are proposing. You must paint a clear picture that highlights the positive and tangible impact this change will have on your team’s day-to-day jobs. It is no secret people get stuck in their ways. No matter how inefficient or antiquated current practices are, they are still hard habits to break. If you stand any chance of getting your staff to buy in, you must be able to answer the question, “How does this change impact me?”, in the most positive light for all those affected. Use statistics, visual aids, video, slides or charts for meaningful affect.

  4. Big Ideas Build Excitement: Stick to high-level inspiring language that will build excitement around the possibilities change will bring. Speak in terms of ideal results and realistic goals. Share examples of success stories your industry peers have achieved using a similar model.

  5. Collaborative Planning and Execution: Allow your team to play a pivotal role in shaping the plan to implement this new project. Doing so, you will show you value their input and are invested in their needs. Delegate ownership of tasks that play to key strengths. Encourage feedback and be sure to highlight the wins along the way.

  6. Tools and Training: If applicable, assure your staff you are prepared to set them up for success with the essential tools and training to make this change work. If it is not feasible to train everyone, assign one or two mentors who will become the office expert(s).

  7. Be Willing To Adjust: As you put your plans in motion, be open to feedback. Depending on how large the project is, you may need to course correct along the way. This could include everything from extending timelines to redistributing tasks. The idea is to keep the lines of communication open and keep the project moving forward.

  8. Lead By Example: There is no better way to persuade your team than investing your own time in learning the new tools and/or adopting new protocols. In short, walk the walk and make this change a part of your office routine as soon as possible.

Whether your staff have been with you for weeks, months or decades, no matter how entrenched their habits, change is possible and eventually necessary for sustainability and growth. To facilitate a smooth transition, be ready to communicate why the change is necessary and the benefits it brings. Engage your team in the planning and implementation process, keeping an open mind to different points of view. Finally, lead by example.

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