According to “culture change expert” Dr. John Kotter, 70% of change efforts fail because leaders fail to gain sufficient buy-in. Whether their ideas or initiatives were good or not is irrelevant because they never even got off the ground.
If you want to effect change in your organization, you need to get your team on board. Otherwise, it’s doomed for failure.
What Are the Biggest Roadblocks to Buy-In?
Simply put, employees. More specifically, here are several emplyee attitudes that are resistant to change.
Fear of Bigger Workload
Their primary concern is how this new initiative will impact their workload and immediately assume the worst. More than likely they are already feeling overwhelmed.
Doesn’t matter what the change is, they just stick to the status quo and don’t want to rock the boat.
Always looks on the darker side and can’t fathom a positive outcome. They often bring down the group energy and can have staggering persuasive abilities.
“Been there, done that”
Employees who have been around awhile are going to be more skeptical of change when they’ve seen previous initiative fail in the past.
They won’t commit to change until at least the majority is on board or when they’re faced with no alternative.
Believe they are smarter than the decision maker and resist change that doesn’t align to their ideas.
How Do You Gain Genuine Buy-In?
1. Don’t wait till the launch.
Let your new initiative be a slow build. Fill your team in on what’s to come, so they can get comfortable with the idea before it’s put into practice.
This also gives you ample time to work out any kinks and deal with inevitable questions/concerns before it’s “go time.”
2. Encourage communication and feedback.
Include your team in the transition. There will inevitably be hiccups and employees may struggle to embrace new processes; make it clear you don’t expect perfection from Day 1 and encourage consistent communication.
Make a point to ask for feedback on how things are going, so you can get the pulse of the situation and adapt, where necessary.
3. Hold everyone accountable.
Adjusting to new processes and systems can be challenging, especially when the whole team is accustomed to working in a certain way; many may even believe the new changes are worse than how things used to be.
Stick to your guns and enforce the new processes by regularly checking in with your team: reports, metrics, performance reviews, team meetings, etc.
4. Walk the talk.
You have to be the first to adapt if you want your team to follow in suit. If the leader isn’t leading by example, employees will have no motivation to take the extra effort.
You’ll also lose the respect and trust of your team if you don’t make good on your word; active participation is essential.
5. Have patience.
It may take time to see results. Everyone is adjusting, and they will need time to absorb the changes into their daily routines.
Consider ways you can remind and reinforce change in meetings, trainings or email communications, etc.
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