Got a new program you want to introduce? Worried about your team’s push back on the change? If you lose sleep at night worrying about how to get everyone to follow along, welcome to the club!
Many business owners and managers have this same worry. Recently we introduced two new price books to the team. One changed the pay structure for one team. The other eliminated some popular product options and required a complete reformatting of the price book. Both were big changes that had myself and my managers a little worried. However, because we were prepared and we had a plan to rollout the changes, everything went fine.
Put on your best game face and be completely upbeat. All of your pre-launch talk on the subject needs to be upbeat.
Here’s the four step process we followed. It worked for us. Try it and see if it can work for you.
Step 1: Enlist Help, and Soften the Blow. Having an ally when entering a battle is always a smart thing to do. Enlisting a member of the team ~ someone who is going to be affected by the change and who knows something about your decision ~ to be your ally in the trenches is invaluable. Choose wisely. You need someone who will speak in a positive light on your behalf to their peers. Prior to introducing change, educate the team member you have entrusted with the task. Ask them to learn about the new program and give you their perspective on how the change will impact the team. Viewing change from a different angle can help you avoid some obvious pitfalls.
Step 2: Acknowledge the Whispers, Quietly. People have a second sense about coming changes in their workplace. When you are approached by an inquisitive team member, share a few details along with your enthusiasm for the changes to come. Give this team member the same information you have already shared with your team member ally.
Put yourself and your people in the story. Show them you are committed. Let them know you have their back and that you will not let them fail.
Key to success: Put on your best game face and be completely upbeat. All of your pre-launch talk on the subject needs to be upbeat. If you do this right on the day of the actual unveiling people should be more accepting of the changes, for the most part.
Step 3: Create Emotional Buy-In, Tell a Story. One of my favorite stories took place in 1519 when Captain Hernán Cortés landed in Veracruz to begin his great conquest. Upon arriving, he gave the order to his men to burn the ships. This captain told his men in no uncertain turns that they were going forward, no matter what. Veracruz point? Retreat is easy when you have the option.
Put yourself and your people in the story. Show them you are committed. Let them know you have their back and that you will not let them fail. And, don’t leave any doubt about retreating from change.
Step 4: Follow Up, Follow Up, and Follow Up. I heard a great quote the other day that went something like this: “You, as an owner or manager, may be good to go with a high level overview, but your people need details.” The lesson is we need to help the team understand the change.
Once we introduced the new price book, we met daily to practice using it. We wrote up mock invoices, made up pricing scenarios and took turns with role playing. We also went over the real-life challenges the team had encountered with customers the day before. Soon, the new pricing system was embraced.
It has been said that the only person who likes change is a baby with a wet diaper. But we also know that change is necessary for us to continue to grow as individuals and to take our businesses to the next level. With proper planning and forethought the days of push back can be a thing of the past.