The path to securing Change Management buy in from your team, is not always the path of least resistance and it can prove to be extremely challenging. Messages can get misinterpreted and your employees may become reluctant to embrace change, slowing down your organisations' progress. From Prosci’s 2016 Best Practices in Change Management research we have identified three key practices that can empower managers to get the buy in they need from their team and provide them with the knowledge they need to overcome the challenges they face.
- Make Change Management a two-way conversation.
Communicate change as a conversation, talk to those that will be involved, not at them. Remember change management focuses on the human side of change, so refrain from relying on the corporate messaging and start a discussion. Prosci have identified that every dialogue surrounding change can be seen as an interaction between a sender and a receiver, a sender is the individual providing information about change and the receiver is anyone being given information.
During the onset of new change, senders and receivers aren’t usually having a discussion, instead, they seem to be talking past each other. What you say, is not always what your team hear. For example, you may sit down with an employee to discuss the restructuring of their department, in an enthusiastic and positive way. You cover all of the key business reasons for the change, the risks of remaining the same and the urgency to remain competitive within your market. You share your excitement with your team and your understanding that this may be a challenging time, but that it will also be a fulfilling time. However, when that employee leaves the office for the day and calls their spouse, or their sibling or anyone they rely upon, the message they share is more often than not a negative one:
“I think the company may be in trouble” or “I am worried I might lose my job”,
What the employee hears can be influenced by many varying factors, such as their previous experiences in other companies, situations their acquaintances and loved ones have experienced, their current performance within their role and whether or not they trust the individual relaying the message. Previous research shows that employees prefer the change message to be delivered by either senior leaders or their immediate supervisor. Within your role it is important that you convey several things to your team:
- How the change will impact your employee and the rest of their team,
- How their day-to-day responsibilities and duties will change
- What is in it for them i.e. how will it improve their role, how will it spread their workload, what new opportunities will it present to the individual and so on
- Convey the benefit to the whole team
Finally, it is vital that you make your team and employees aware that their constructive feedback and ideas are welcome. That your door is open and you will be there to answer any questions they may have. Be genuine in your interactions, don’t try to hide anything about the impending changes and support your team as they face their own challenges head on. Their faith and trust in you, and your own determination to implement change should help you build their confidence and buy into this new change initiative.
- Tackling Resistance
Neuroscience indicates that we all physiologically resist change. When confronted by a new stimulus the neurons in our brain leap into action, we respond to the stimulus and burn more energy than in our resting state. In a business context how we as team leaders and line managers tackle this resistance to change can make all the difference in gaining the buy in and commitment from our team required for a change initiative to be successfully adopted. We know that this resistance to change comes from the fact that change can create an environment of fear and anxiety in our minds – our “fight or flight” mechanism is triggered - and in our workplace. When “The old way” has become a familiar habit that our brains have accepted there is a fear of the unknown and this can impact team morale, increase resistance and most importantly reduce productivity. In order to implement a successful change management initiative, it is important that we understand the other factors that can create resistance, such as:
- The impact on their career and day-to-day responsibilities,
- Personal factors i.e. their age, health, their family, their financial stability,
- How the change fits in with their personal values,
- How they perceive the sender and do they trust them?
Resistance to change happens with every new change initiative. When you accept this fact and accept that resistance to change is normal, then it is to be expected and you can put resources in place at the outset of the initiative to help mitigate any resistance, before it escalates out of control.
According to Prosci 2016 Best Practices research 52% of employees believed that more than 50% of resistance in their project could have been anticipated and avoided. It is possible to manage resistance early and stop a large proportion of it before it occurs but to do so you have to stop treating it as a singular problem employee or area and understand the factors that create an environment for resistance and then manage these accordingly. By doing this and managing change well we can create a paradigm shift from managing resistance and putting out fires, to engaging our teams and building enthusiasm for change.
- Take a workshop and take the time to coach your team
If this is your first time attempting to gain buy in for change management, attend a multi-day course or a single-day workshop. These 1-day workshops can help you gain a deeper understanding of the real value of change management and how to face obstacles and mitigate resistance head on.
At CMC we hold workshops around the world to help prepare individuals with a passion for change management to propel their organisations forward. These workshops give you the skills you need to communicate change effectively with your team and employees and how to plan for resistance. After attending the workshop you will have the knowledge you need to coach your employees through the process of implementing a new change initiative. It is crucial that managers and supervisors take the time to conduct both individual and group training sessions to truly engage those that will be responsible for implementing change.
Solid coaching is built upon the employee/manager relationship and it is important that this session comes from you, not an outsourced consultant, not the HR manager as they do not have the same level of trust. Through the resources your organisation invest in your own personal training, you will be able to become a force of change within your team, empowering them to embrace change by communicating effectively and mitigating resistance.
So if you are a Line Manager directly impacted by one or several changes consider working with your project manager or sponsor of the project to invest in a private 1-day Prosci Line Manager Coaching Workshop from CMC. This workshop centres around how you can better prepare all the Managers impacted by this change to more effectively manage their own and their employees’ natural resistance to the change and also how to better coach employees in exactly what is required of them to become proficient in the new ways of working demanded by this change.
If this is of interest, then download the below guide to the 1-day Prosci Line Manager Coaching Workshop or click the "Get in Touch" buttom and we will be in touch to discuss a private workshop from CMC.
Maybe as a precursor to that you might need to help build a business case for investing in any change management for this project. So please then consider one of our next public open-enrolment Prosci 1-day Workshops which will explain how to build a compelling Business Case for investing in Change Management on a specific project that you have underway. The workshop takes place on the 3rd of November 2017 at the Regus in Singapore and will show you how to apply the structure of a business case discipline to change management and provide you with a method and tool for demonstrating the ROI of change management on one of your projects.