Introducing Organizational Change and Gaining Buy-In
The journey to achieving transformative, organizational change is one with many obstacles that must be overcome. You, your team and your organization may put the best plan in place to test this new program or set of tools within a pilot, and the execution may be flawless in this test case, but it in no way guarantees success across your organization. Truly transformational change requires that every member of your organization understand the need to change, know the vision and end-goal of the change, embrace the new direction whole-heartedly and are given every tool and piece of support needed to execute on the transformation.
We talk a lot about change management in this blog, and for good reason – you and your business regularly invest abundant resources in the forms of time, talent and treasure into efforts to gain an edge on the competition and separate yourself from your peers. All of this is for naught if the transformational change you pursue falls by the wayside because you failed to make the transformation part of ‘the way things are done’ in your organization.
A key element in undertaking organizational change is making sure you clearly communicate a clear picture of the end goal, the why and the how.
Communicate the End Goal
A good first step in the change management component of any project is to start communicating that big picture – the end goal. Why are we putting in this effort and how will progress be measured and success achieved? Are you trying to outpace your competition when it comes to growth? If so, explain why this is of particular focus and again, how will that be measured – through new store openings, year-over-year gains in market share or quarterly revenue growth.
This will make it easier when you begin explaining why the project needs to be done and how the goals will be achieved. Begin by discussing the different pieces of the project, the expected results and the time frames. This will help the collaborators involved assimilate the general aspect of the project so they can begin understanding the full scope.
Communicate the Motives
Secondly, it is important to assure that the people involved in the project understand the motive. This is something that can be forgotten but that is essential to project success, as faith and a sense of purpose among employees is instilled from day one. A good approach is to begin discussing the general problem that the program wants to solve.
Have an open discussion on the different repercussions these problems have on the daily operations and overall success of the company. Follow-through in discussing how solving these issues would impact the organization and its employees and their ability to achieve that end goal. Use success stories that refer to positive changes at both the organizational level and the individual level. This will set a fortified groundwork that will assist in delivering a clearer message regarding the how.
Communicate the Expectations and Tools
Also, employees need to understand the overall strategy that will lead the team to the achieving the expected results. This is the time to begin explaining the tools and concepts that will be used to tackle the problems at hand currently preventing you from achieving your end goal.
A helpful way to deliver a clear message is by demonstrating visual examples of what your expectations are. Dividing the steps on how to successfully implement the concepts and tools will also assist in communicating the message more efficiently. Make sure everybody understands their roles in the project, regardless of perceived significance, so they can take ownership of personal goals from day one. Achieving transformational change is often comprised of many small building blocks that, while on their own seems inconsequential together form the foundation of the achieving your end goal.
Lastly, make sure to establish and communicate how results and performance of the overall program and people involved will be measured. This will help the team have a frame of reference as far as accountability is concerned, and it will convey to them that the mechanisms are in place to ensure the program is sustained and regularly maintained. It will also help the overall success of the program to recognize high performance by an individual or team and regularly communicate that to the organization as a whole.
To truly achieve transformative, organizational change many things must go right – you need to pick the right strategy, incorporate the best tools, and empower competent leadership, as well as many other facets of running a business. But, all too often the strategy for introducing organizational change and gaining buy-in is overlooked, or at best a secondary priority. To really change an organization and achieve that end goal, it is paramount to develop and deliver a clear message and plan that defines and explains the importance of the goal while establishing the means to reach it.