Project Management

How to secure Buy-in for Your Next Big Change

From the Shifting Change: Insider Tips from Project Leaders Blog
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Today's world is influenced by change. Project managers and their organizations need to embrace and sometimes drive changes to keep up with the pace in highly competitive environments. In this blog, experienced professionals share their experiences, tips and tools to manage and exploit changes and take advantage of them. The blog is complimentary to the webinar series of the Change Management Community Team and is managed by the same individuals.

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Luisa Cristini
Nic Jain
Ruth Pearce
Abílio Neto
Vitaly Geyman
Walter Vandervelde
Steve Salisbury
John ORourke
Ronald Sharpe
Angela Montgomery
Tony Saldanha
Ryan Gottfredson
Joseph Pusz
Kavitha Gunasekaran
Ross Wirth
Carole Osterweil

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The Power of Purpose

One of my clients attempted to drive a large transformation with no consideration for the impact on front-line employees. They did not even provide training for employees to know how to operate in the new culture. I came in afterward to help them reshape the project, sought to engage the front-line, and helped them drive greater success.

Conversely, wise executives think about how employees will operate in the new environment. They find ways to engage the front-line to implement the change. These leaders consider three factors:

  1. Cultivate a spirit of cooperation to implement the greater good.
  2. View resistance as a positive and use it to rationalize the change.
  3. Make it fun.

Cooperation: In 2019, you would think that organizational culture had progressed to a point where leaders treat front-line employees with basic respect. After all, it is the front line who operates the company every day. Command and control management styles are on the way out. True leaders seek to cooperate with the front-line employees to help drive the change. They recognize they need the front-line to be successful if the company is to be successful.

Resistance: Resistors often provide some of the best input for a project. First, they provide reasons why the change won’t work. They reveal risks you might not have otherwise known. Second, if you can convert resistors into supporters, they can be some of your most ardent advocates for change.

Fun: I’ve seen leaders hold creative events to help promote the change. One used interactive games and relevant puzzles in a one-day, off-site pre-launch meeting. Another senior executive took the entire project team to a White Sox game (they won!). Another leader took her team through a cooking class the evening before an all-day off-site. These events build comradery and a sense of team – founded on a basis of interpersonal trust and commitment, which helps unite the team toward the common project goal.

Front-line engagement results in more effective change. It generates ideas, buy-in, and acceptance. People simply work harder when they are part of the process instead of having a process forced upon them. Wouldn’t you?


Posted by Steve Salisbury on: November 26, 2019 03:30 PM | Permalink

Comments (12)

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Dear Steve
Interesting approach to the topic
Thanks for sharing

Do you consider that the points and precious tips you shared are sufficient to address the changing organizational culture?

Thank you, Steve, for share these considerations about different manners of reducing resistance to change in the front line. It's an aspect really important to take into account when we are planning to make changes in organizational culture.

Good thought, especially making people aware of the change well in advance and make them feel to be a part of the change process. I guess, many a times people are reluctant to adapt a change unless they know the value the change is going to bring in for them, that to for a long run. Short lived benefits may not be worth of revamping and a good option for a transformation or any change for that matter. Thanks you, Steve

I get Reminded of William Bridges' transition Model where transition in relation to a change is a process of three steps
1) Ending 2) Neutral zone and 3) New Beginnings .

Ending :- You need to manage endings from an empathetic stand-front and help employees make the transition knowing fully well that you will and you should expect resistance. They require education and support in this phase . This is the letting-go phase.

Neutral Zone :- Is a chaotic phase where there is skepticism in relation to the change, chaos should be embraced and expected and there is identity crises .

New Beginnings - where everyone needs 4 Ps :- A PURPOSE to embrace the new change, A PICTURE that portrays what future looks like , PLANS that make steps transparent and concrete to help them build trust in the change and in management and PARTS - where everyone understands and embraces their roles in the new world .

Thank you for sharing your perspective...

Front-line engagement results in more effective change. It generates ideas, buy-in, and acceptance... well said, but above all, they are the ones who have a fair share of connects with the customer.
They can shape the experience with the end user, so it is critical we get them onboard the transformation.

Thanks for sharing Steve

Business readiness is an integral component of the transformation process. Have you ever seen a transformer only partly transform :)

Very interesting article. Thank you for sharing Steve

Thanks for all the comments. When driving cultural change, involving employees is essential. And early. As a leader, you establish a clear picture of the end result, including measurable outcomes, and then involve the employees to help define the details of WHAT needs to be done and HOW to go about implementing it.

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