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Do This Before You Go About Change

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. 

Heather Youngerhttps://customerfanatix.com/
Heather Younger gets it. As a best-selling author, international TEDx speaker, podcast host, facilitator and Forbes Coaches Council coach, she has earned her reputation as “The Employee Whisperer”. Her experiences as a CEO, entrepreneur, manager, attorney, writer, coach, listener, speaker, collaborator and mother all lend themselves to a laser-focused clarity into what makes employees of organizations and companies – large and small - tick. Heather has facilitated more than 150 workshops, reaching +100 employers and their employees. Her motivation and philosophy have reached more than 20,000 attendees at her speaking engagements on large and small stages. Companies have charted their future course based on her leading more than 100 focus groups. In addition, she has helped companies see double-digit employee engagement score increases through implementation of her laws and philosophies. She has driven results in a multitude of industries, including banking, oil & gas, construction, energy, and federal and local government. Heather brings a tenacious and inspirational outlook to issues plaguing the workforces of today. Her book “The 7 Intuitive Laws of Employee Loyalty” hit Forbes Must-Read list and is a go-to source for HR professionals seeking insight into their organization’s’ dynamics. Heather’s writing can also be found on her blog at CustomerFanatix.com, as well as articles in the Forbes, Huffington Post, Thrive Global, American Express Open Forum, and more. Coupled with her Leadership with Heart podcast, weekly videos and employer newsletters, Heather stays connected to organizations long after she leaves the stage or conference roomWhen all the emails are returned and the mic is turned off, Heather acts as co-manager of her busy household in Aurora, Colorado with her husband, where they oversee their four children.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Dear Heather,

    I have to say I resonate with your words. ‘Communicate their way’. Thus the ultimate in empathy and mutual recognition.

    When two people meet for a business session, or one person presenting to a committee. It is (as you say) easy to be self-focused.

    We all have something in common and recognizing the body language for example, helps create rapport. After all, success for all concerned is what it is all about. With interviews for example, they should be based on a mutually beneficial discussion, rather than a subjective posture aimed at the candidate. Really super article, Heather.

    Simon

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