A New Perspective
I’ve noticed a common theme in my work, and it has been on my mind and heart a lot recently. I have already addressed the difficulty, the challenges, and recommendations for moving forward with change when facing a lack of buy-in. However, today I want to address this issue from a different angle. To do so, I have to take it back a bit.
After the Birth of the Idea
When engaging in the change process, organizations go many different routes. They use anything from committees to consultants to self-starter catalyst employees. However, once the change takes form as an idea, it must be pushed forward and communicated. But right here, in this first step, there is a critical process that frequently gets overlooked.
Make it Not About You
Most people engaging in a change journey are thinking about the outcomes, right? They consider the idyllic end goal and what it will do for them. They typically link their goals to something they (the change instigators) are passionate about. This occurs frequently. I honestly think it goes back to our human nature. Our first concern is for ourselves. Typically, we strive for our change mission to align with our goals. Our proposal seems strongest when it nails down those goals and the processes to get there in a hammer-proof way. But those proposals that we feel so aligned with that we can experience physical reactions, such as a flushed face, or an increased heart rate, don’t matter to the people you’re trying to win over. They matter to you, and your best shot at making them take root is by figuring out why they should matter to people not like you.
All About the Audience
Only, this appeal falls short time and again. It’s like a sales pitch. It needs to be about the customer. Those are the people you want to buy into the change. So the first step is taking note of who your audience is. Are you trying to win over the c-suite? Are they primarily numbers-driven? Or are you trying to appeal to HR, but the change you want to enact is primarily numbers-driven? To be successful, you need to assess your audience’s goals and redraft your pitch to meet their goals ahead of your own.
Most people tell you their why, and if it is not explicit, do some sleuthing and discover their real motivators. What is it that’s on their dashboards? What are they tracking? You can even go as far as to ask them, “how do you measure success?”
Communicate their Way
It’s also important to understand their communication style. Are they more visual or audial? Or are they incredibly busy? Consider if it’s best to approach them in a meeting or schedule a one-on-one to make the appeal more personal. Do everything in your power to ensure they physically receive your message. You never want to catch someone too busy or distracted. And you definitely don’t want to devalue your message by giving it to someone on the fly.
A great tool for communication is DISC training and assessments. If you have already participated in DISC assessments and training, or want to try something different, consider engaging with the Caring Leadership Academy to learn how to relate and work better with others.
Little steps like this that require more thoughtful planning can save organizations a wealth of time and effort in the long run. Slow down and be meticulous in the early planning phases. Then, watch the payoff all your careful strategic work will have when you have the key players of your organization backing your change plan. The sooner you work to connect your plan to others, the better.