Whenever I am training groups or working with people on a one to one basis, a topic that seems to continuously come up is how can I get the buy-in and support of the people I lead and manage.
In many ways I am not surprised that this is such a big topic right now. If you think about it over the last few years we have gone from what can best described as a really buoyant economy to a global economy where there is a lot of uncertainty.
So often when I hear people speak about change, all of the focus is on the tools, techniques and processes. I like everyone else like process and recognise its importance.
At the same time I know from my personal experience that when it comes to areas like change, process itself is just not enough.
Ultimately you need to get the buy-in and in reality that means winning hearts and minds.
In any situation where you are trying to make changes, the chances are that there is going to be 3 distinct groups.
Group 1 is what I am going to call your raving fans. These are the people who will support you 100% of the time through thick and thin.
Group 2 is the critical mass o the fence sitters. These are the people who will either come on board with your ideas or resist what you are proposing depending on whether you make a compelling enough case or not.
Group 3 is what I will call your total resisters. It would not matter if you handed them a £1million to use as they like. They would still put up some form of resistance.
The reality is that if you want to get the buy-in you need, you really need to pay attention to Group 2 (the critical mass).
So how can you do this?
The first thing you need to do is to get into listening mode. This will enable you to find out what the real concerns or worries are of the majority. Once armed with this it is much easier to respond.
The second thing is to create a compelling picture or story to sell the benefits of the changes you want to make. It is no good talking in generalities. You need to show in a clear and concise way what is going to be different.
The third thing you need to be alert to is wasting too much time and energy on group 3 (the total resisters). They are going to be the last to adopt what you propose and some might never adopt what you do.
The final thing is be willing to adapt your thinking, especially if you get better insights from elsewhere.
The Bottom Line: Any change is a challenge because people ultimately think of themselves. Taking the time to win hearts and minds is what can really yield big results when it comes to getting the buy-in you need.