4 Conversational Elements to Engage Others in Change

I am often approached by leaders who want to get their change initiatives on track and see rapid adoption of change behaviors. One of the first things I ask them is whether they are having conversations with their employees.

According to Ken Blanchard one of the top reasons why change efforts typically fail is that people leading the change think that announcing the change is the same as implementing it. They don’t take time to engage their people and provide them the opportunity to voice their concerns.

It’s easy to get caught up in the “business” side of change management – the planning, budgeting, staffing and problem-solving.  Be sure to also focus on aligning, motivating and inspiring your people. It will help you build a more resilient team that can move through change with agility and flexibility.

People don’t adopt change simply because their leader has rolled out a new strategy that mandates the change. Before getting behind the change they need to first get emotionally engaged. After that they can look at implementation and see how it links back to their job roles. If your team isn’t emotionally engaged, they will most likely resist change.

Start by simply talking with them. Here are some suggestions for making your efforts count:

  1. Make space for meaningful conversations. Begin by asking good questions and really listening. Be genuinely concerned with issues people have. Accept the whole spectrum of emotion, and understand that people might be in different places regarding the change.
  2. Promote a common vision then help people connect with their part of the visionRemember to address the WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) part of the equation.
  3. Bring clarity, focus and caring. When someone feels they have clarity, know they are cared about, and are clear about what they need to do, they will get emotionally engaged.
  4. Walk your talk. Create alignment and consistency by modeling the change behavior you are asking of them.

Are there other ways you have found to get people engaged in change?  Would love to hear them!