Most organisations will experience change at some point, whether it’s a merger, acquisition, new product launch or the introduction of a new system. Change can be exciting but it can also be challenging for employees. The responsibility for effective change firmly rests with good leaders, who need to ensure that their team is on board with the changes that are taking place. In this blog post, I will discuss some tips for creating buy-in from employees during change management.
Change management is often difficult because it challenges the status quo. Employees may be hesitant to change their ways or adopt new processes. It’s important for leaders to explain why change is necessary, especially where there may be a sense of urgency around it. They should also be prepared for resistance from employees and have a plan to overcome it.
The most effective way to create buy-in from employees is to involve them in the change process. Leaders should engage with their people to obtain input and feedback from team members and be prepared to take their concerns into account. Employees will feel more invested in the change if they have a say in why it is necessary and how it is implemented.
Communication is another key factor in change management. Leaders need to be clear about what changes are taking place and why they are necessary. They should also keep employees updated on progress and let them know when things change or if there are any delays. Transparency is crucial during times of change, as it helps to build trust between leaders and employees.
Change management can be a challenging but rewarding process. By following these tips, leaders can create buy-in from employees and make the transition smoother for everyone.
Leading your team through chaos and complexity during change management
COVID has created chaos and complexity in our working lives. It would be reasonable to say that we have never before experienced such a time of disruption in the world, certainly not in our lifetime.
So how do you lead through that?
Good leaders will adjust the way that they interact with people. Leaders have to be more understanding when people talk about some of their own personal challenges in the workplace and recognise the need for more flexibility. In reality, effective management of the chaos can only be achieved by unpacking the complexity and creating greater flexibility in the work environment.
If your organisation has a hierarchical and structured environment, leaders will need to implement changes to encourage less formality. Take time to connect with people, talk about some of the challenges, both personal and professional. Acknowledge how these changes have come about and their impact on the organisation, whether they were created by organisational change or not.
As a leader, you will recognise that chaos has resulted from a variety of internal and external factors, especially where the business has changed due to COVID. If the organisation needs to go through a period of structural change, you want to minimise the likelihood of creating further chaos by ensuring transparency and effective communication throughout the process.
Ask your people for their input to ensure they feel heard and engaged in the change management process
When a leader decides that the organisation needs change, they need to approach team members and discuss the problem. Leaders need to outline why it’s a problem and highlight that change needs to be made, then ask them for input about a solution.
Many great leaders already know what is needed to resolve the problem make the change, that’s why they’re the leader. However, by engaging team members and providing a platform to receive their perspective on what is needed to fix the problem, leaders create ‘buy-in’ – giving employees a strategic overview and a sense of helping the organisation to resolve a problem.
Good compassionate leadership is about engaging with team members. When a leader identifies a problem, it’s best to consult the team in a shared way “This is our problem, what do you think we should do to fix it?” In this way leaders can gain insight and they leave employees feeling that they have been heard and engaged in the process, giving them a sense of being valued.
Tell your team that organisational change is coming
The key component of any effective change management process is good communication. Once the decision for change has been made, leaders should deliver clear and consistent messaging about why the change is necessary, across multiple mediums and across the whole organisation. Many leaders operate on a ‘need to know’ basis, however, it is good practice to provide broad strategic information to all members of the organisation when change is planned. Such communication should outline how that change process provides the solution for the problem and how it is actually going to look when rolled out across the organisation.
Depending on the size of the organisation, some changes may be small and may only affect one team. However, by drawing attention to the issue across the organisation, good leaders demonstrate their effectiveness at solving problems. By highlighting the strategic need to resolve the problem, leaders help employees to understand why it’s a problem for the business.
Failure to communicate the rationale for change, even if it’s only a small change, will result in a lack of support for the rollout of that change. Worse, leaders may experience active resistance to the change.
Why change management fails in most companies
Most change management fails because people don’t take the time to communicate the problem that the change is actually going to solve. The strategic rationale for the change is not effectively communicated.
Leaders often seek to demonstrate their value by wielding power and may make changes to exert authority. As new leaders to an organisation, many want to make a mark and decide to change something because it worked in a previous organisation.
However, when the people on the ground are the ones who are required to implement the change, it is really important that communication around the problem that needs to be solved by making the change. It’s the consultation that creates buy-in. Without buy-in, your change process will fail.
Good leaders take time to assess the situation before proposing change. If a change process is rushed it will be met head-on with more resistance. Take time to settle in before proposing significant change, at least three months in a new role. It takes that long to assess the lay of the land.
Problem is that a lot of roles are sold to leaders as a ‘We really need somebody to come in and hit the ground running!’ But hitting the ground running does not mean change.
Be comfortable and confident in your ability as a compassionate leader. Take time to assess the situation, determine the problem and potential solutions before you talk to your team. Clarify for them what the problem is and ask what they would suggest solving the problem.
When the need for change is understood, the process will happen and be relatively painless. The employees feel that they understand the rationale and they are on board with it.
Would you like to learn more about how to set the stage for change in your organisation?
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