Have you ever struggled with getting buy-in for change in the workplace? I think many of us have in one way or another from wanting to change from a new copier to work policy to organizational design. We often want things to change, but struggle for many reasons. It could be too risky, too pricey, it doesn’t align with business goals in the enterprise, leadership doesn’t think it’s that big of a problem, or maybe we just need to use a different approach to get buy-in from the top.
I was recently having conversation with an HR leader and she mentioned how she approached her previous leader differently than her current leader when it comes to change in the workplace. Her previous leader was quick on making decisions when she came in with an idea or wanted to make a change, while her new leader was very slow with change and didn’t seem as interested in the things, she thought would move the needle for more employee engagement. When she mentioned this approach, I thought about how she and others in HR should consider meeting with their sales team to ask how they approach getting new customers.
You see, many times we need to show there is a problem – not tell, but share the story to help the leaders feel the pain we are feeling on the ground with our team. If we are spending too much money, we need to show it, when we want to add something in our policy to help our employees, we need to show leadership. Just like Simon Sinek presenting “the golden circle“, we also need to show WHY. We use this approach; we are able to connect our cause and share the story that will ultimately create engagement to help us lead change.
Let’s look at this approach from a sales perspective:
- Build Trust… Trust is the foundation of leadership. We need to start here by making sure we are building trust up and down the organization. It’s not just with the CEO… One of my colleagues always talked about the importance of connecting with two up and two across in any organization. Getting to know leaders is critical to building trust. We can do this by listening and being interested in what is important to them. If you are new in the organization, it may take some time… be patient.
- Solve a problem. Listen, if there is not a problem, we are wasting our time. Many times, it might seem like there’s a problem to us, but not to leadership. How big of a problem is it? Have you talked with others about it and asked for their perspective? I was recently listening to a podcast when the host mentioned when I hear the same question more than 3 times, it might be time to build a product around it. Consider keeping a “list” of questions or comments you hear on a daily basis. This will also give you things to talk about with other leaders to get perspective too.
- Develop a Business Case. When you see multiple questions about the same issues, it is time to consider developing a business case. Most HR professionals miss the mark here because it takes time and effort. When we want change, many times we need to demonstrate why and how it will improve business results. …and the more the change will cost, the more research we will need to provide leaders to consider the change. The business case must include stories, benchmarking, trends, and insights from other employees. It should also include options as a guide for leaders to consider as a solution.
- Demonstrate Value. When customers decide to make a change, they need to be able to show the value it will bring to their company. This is the same way when presenting to leadership to get buy-in. It’s all about value. Will this help us? …increase revenue, save costs, save time, increase safety, bring more quality, etc… How will this make our company better and be in alignment with our mission and purpose.
- Handle Resistance. One of the things I learned early in my career was that NO only meant “not yet”, or “not enough value” to have a conversation or to make a change. That’s okay. We then need to then decide what is the real reason for not changing through a series of questions. Once we understand the real reason, then ask “do I need to find more value, or move on to something bigger?”. However, we need to remember it typically takes multiple calls/meetings to get to yes and most people give up after the first call. How much do we believe in the change?
When I joined Armstrong Relocation back in 2004, I enrolled in Toastmasters International to help me become a better presenter. You see, the better we communicate, the better we can deliver a presentation. Getting buy in is also about perception. How well do you communicate or present as a leader?
Don’t overlook the power of presenting? It just might be the edge you need to get buy-in as a LeadHR!
Quote of the week: “The Law of Buy-In: People buy into the leader, then the vision. John C. Maxwell
Call to Action: Go find the best salesperson in your company and ask him / her to walk you through the process to get a customer and try to integrate some of these ideas into your presentation. You just might find yourself getting the buy-in you’ve been waiting for! Share your perspective below, or send me a note. I would enjoy hearing from you.
This has been A Relocation Minute on “Getting Buy-in” with Bruce Waller, for more information, call 972-389-5673, or email firstname.lastname@example.org or check out my social media Facebook and Twitter page. Also, check out www.BruceWaller.com to review my leadership book “Find Your Lane” and journal “Milemarkers” both available on amazon.