By Cultivate Advisors
In a growing business, change is inevitable. Unfortunately, as the business grows and your employees become accustomed to the systems and processes that dictate their day-to-day, they get comfortable, which makes it more challenging when it comes time for an organizational shift.
As business leaders, one of the biggest challenges we face is establishing and maintaining buy-in from our teams. Without that motivation, change may be met with resistance and may never take hold.
Change is never easy, and when you’re trying to steer an entire organization in a new direction, it can feel like you’re trying to paddle a ship with a spoon. It’s natural to feel uncomfortable with change, and it’s no different at the organizational level. Be sure to take advantage of business performance improvement consulting, which will help to boost productivity and long-term performance.
The more buy-in you get from more of your employees, the more productive they will be in executing your goals and initiatives. Buy-in saves time by avoiding employees that are not bought into what you are working toward; this can get annoying for any leader in a business to get frustrated with employees not executing.
The Buy-In Process
Building trust and buy-in for your vision or projects take patience and planning, but there are things you can do to accelerate the process and ensure success.
Here is a simple way to measure buy-in with your team and create buy-in to ensure your team stays engaged and productive.
Quality of the Idea x Buy-in Level = Execution
When presenting an idea, you must answer two questions:
- What is the quality of the idea?
- What is the buy-in level of the employee?
When you look at the quality of the idea multiplied by the employee’s level of excitement, you get the execution level; the higher the execution level, the better. Unfortunately, employees won’t always be psyched about executing, which is why buy-in is so important.
Ultimately creating buy-in starts with having the end goal in mind. And the best way to increase the buy-in level is to allow your employees to be actively involved in the change process. Here are five steps you can use to implement change and ensure a smooth transition with your team.
1. Talk to Your Team and Lay Out the Vision
The first step to creating an easy transition begins with clearly laying out your clear vision strategy. Walking your team from the starting point (today) to your end destination will guide them through what is changing and, more importantly, why. This is also a great play to outline how changes will impact the organization as well as the effect it will have on the team and their careers.
2. Involve the Team and Personalize Tasks
In addition to explaining the why behind a project, you can further set your team up for success by ensuring you assign tasks based on individual strengths. Explain how each person’s role is vital to the outcome. This is where the 1-on-1 settings can work for you to drive buy-in. Set measurable goals and let them know how they will be held accountable. If appropriate, make the individuals take part in defining the work they will be undertaking.
3. Stay Connected and Schedule Follow-Up
When you want change to last, you can’t set it and forget it. Stay connected with your team and ensure everyone is on the same page. Make yourself available for your organization. Encourage employees to update you when challenges arise so you can help problem-solve. That’s not to say you should listen to every gripe and complaint, but you can let everyone know you are empathetic to their concerns and are willing to work with them to find solutions. Further, encourage employees to bring a solution with them when making you aware of a problem.
4. Address Resistance
All change will be met with some level of resistance. Be aggressive in addressing instances of resistance. An occasional alignment meeting one-on-one to drive commitment may be necessary. This is important for two reasons. First, small problems have a nasty habit of growing. Second, you don’t want unhappy employees poisoning the minds of others.
5. Be Prepared to Pivot
Just as employees resist change, sometimes we fail to realize that our changes aren’t working the way we want them to. Assuming you have the right workers on the right task, solicit their feedback. You have to be prepared to take their advice and adjust your game plan. Sometimes that means mid-course corrections. Other times, it means scrapping the plan and starting from scratch. That’s not defeat—it’s the ultimate sign that you value the buy-in your employees have for your ideas.
The more buy-in you get from more of your employees, the more productive they will be in executing your shared goals and initiatives.
Want to learn more about creating buy-in? Check out Cultivate Advisors’ free Dynamic Leadership Course on the NAWBO Institute and take this lesson on Creating Buy-In.
If you need more help with your leadership and don’t know where to start, you don’t have to go at it alone. Schedule a free two-hour performance consulting session to sit down with an advisor to dig into your business and help you develop a plan.