Buying Into Change

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A common leadership challenge is to motivate your leaders to buy into change. The reality is that change is constant and it is accelerating. Today’s change becomes tomorrow’s normal. As a leader, you’ll want to remember these three tips to help you and your team buy into change.

Tip #1 – Give change a try

In your leadership role, you might have personal doubts as to whether the change will work or not. Let’s face it, no change comes with absolute certainty or a guarantee. Encourage your team to give it a try and a reasonable effort before they pass a final judgement.

Tip #2 – Make it easier to change

At Disney World, if you have an empty soda cup in your hand and you look around for the nearest garbage can, it won’t be any further than forty feet away. Disney has learned something that all of you can benefit from: laziness is the most powerful human motivator of all. If you can tap into the power of laziness, you can motivate people to do anything you want. If you look at the example of recycling, back in the early days: if you were really environmentally conscious and a “greenie”, you’d have to collect all your recyclables up, throw them in the back of your van and drive them to a depot out in the country. Now recycling rates are near 90% because we’ve given blue boxes so people find it easier to do what we want them to do. Think about ways you can make it easier in your environment for your leaders to implement the change you are looking for.

Tip #3 – Acknowledge all forward momentum

Change can be difficult, so it’s important to help your team see the progress that they’re making.

For example, in their excellent book Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard, authors Chip and Dan Heath share this example: A friend had a full service car wash and he wanted to give people a free wash after every seven paid washes but unfortunately people weren’t coming back for more car washes. He was talking to Chip and Dan and they suggested that he print up another set of these frequent customer cards but this time have 10 blanks on it and stamp it three times before the customer received it. The result is that they’ve got three stamps out of ten on their card instead of one stamp out of seven. The promotion started to take off because the three stamps created the illusion of more momentum towards the goal. With any change, you want to celebrate all the momentum and progress towards achieving the goal.
Of course, as a leader you’re going to have to buy into change first, then your team members will be willing to give it a try. Getting your team to actually take change more readily and not resist it so much is really one of the cornerstone skills of a front line leader.


Action you can take:
Develop the leadership skills that front line supervisors, team leaders and managers need to improve safety, productivity and quality, while maximizing the involvement of all team members. Whether you need foundational skills or a specialized workshop, reach out and start a conversation today.


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