Five Ways to Drive Influence Through Change Management

By Kandace Miller, Global Marketing Director, The Cluen Corporation

When change is necessary, adopting new processes can be extremely challenging. Whether it be a new IT project such as a system upgrade, growth initiatives to unlock new markets or other performance-based strategic goals, getting every team member on board is essential to your company’s success.

Why is team buy-in so important?

Your team’s productivity is tied to efficiency. If you have a bottleneck in your processes, everything suffers—company-wide. Change management is tied to the ability to move corporate culture forward. Essentially, it’s your ability as a business to evolve. Within a small team, the culture can be impacted by just one or two dissenters. These people are not always trying to be difficult; in fact, they probably feel that they have the best interests of the company at heart.

Transform your company culture with change management

Here are some effective strategies your team can use to get employees engaged when it comes to utilizing new technology, streamlining your organizational processes and expanding your company’s revenue streams.

Create a Leadership Mandate

Develop a clear vision for how your initiative ties to success. It should be easy to justify the change as hardship presents itself. Simply measure the hardship against the benefits. Check out Simon Sinek’s TED Talk on “How Great Leaders Inspire Action.” Begin with why you are doing what you are doing instead of how or what. If you don’t know why you are doing something, how can you get anyone else excited about being involved?

Develop a culture of co-creation

Diane Gherson, head of HR at IBM, points to co-creation as a key to success. This associates the leadership mandate with a challenge and lifts the team up to meet that challenge. For example, you could say that you want to use a new data system to reduce the time it takes to prepare client reports by 50% while achieving better, more consistent branding company-wide. How you get there is not a management concern—it’s a challenge to the team and any outside advisors.

Be open to objections

Objections need to be addressed before you can expect buy-in from your team members. If you want to transform your business and ultimately become more effective, make sure you take all ideas into consideration. Opposingly, do not become too obsessed with one idea. Be open to hearing others’ feedback and concerns. That way, you can promote an open dialogue between team members that, in turn, generates opportunities for continuous improvement.

Brainstorm for questions

In the process of co-creation, it is important to ask relevant questions first. MIT’s Hal Gregersen shows evidence of how vital it is to drive questions before trying to ask for an answer—or, worse, telling a group what the answer is ahead of time. Basically, we don’t know what we don’t know. When you ask questions, you uncover what you could be completely wrong about.

Track key performance metrics

Having a way to measure results will be critical to sustainable success. Some companies succeed by using incentives (or at least performance reviews) that are tied back to measured results. Define your vision of success and compare it to the original mandate. Distinguish a mutually agreed-upon way to measure if and how you’ve gotten there. Break out what each player’s role is—this is not only the key to implementation, it’s also an incentive toward a mutual goal.

If you want to transform your company culture, you have to figure out why the change matters and what you don’t know, collectively brainstorm how to fix it, and ultimately figure out how you will measure success. Most importantly, the key to getting buy-in from your team is to include everyone in the change management process in some way.


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