Here’s the problem: Nobody likes change. There’s enough of it with software updates, password refreshes, management fads, and employee turnover. Team support for marketing process improvements can be hard to muster.
But let’s say you’ve got a change that you know is worth it, like moving from hard copy to digital proofing or finally codifying your job request process. It will save you time and money in the future and result in greater productivity. There’s just that little hump of team and stakeholder buy-in to get over, and then it will be smooth sailing.
So, how do you get your team and your stakeholders (be they clients or other departments in your organization) to voluntarily climb that hill with you?
It’s not easy, but here are five steps to take for better engagement during process change:
1. Put everyone on the process strategy team
If your team members feel ownership of the process analysis and change strategy, they’ll already have one foot onboard the train. Do a team-building exercise that educates them in kaizen, and let them know they have the power to “stop the line.” Adults like to feel like they have control and they know what to expect. If they feel like they can help steer the change, and they know change is coming, they’ll be much more amenable to new ideas in process.
2. Start with why
In his viral TED Talk, Simon Sinek discusses the key to the great change makers of our past, which was starting with the why. Don’t even mention the change when you first start building support. Instead, build the story on why you thought a change might be necessary, and help your team see that this change is the only logical next step. Team engagement starts with that gut feeling that this is the right thing to do. Beginning with why will get them on board.
3. Ask for input
Before you make the final decision, let your team know you’re considering it so they can weigh in. Even if you don’t go with their suggestions, they’ll feel more respected if they know you listened to what they had to say about the change strategy. They might also bring up complications you hadn’t considered. If someone is vehemently against the idea, you might be able to compromise. Either way, you’ll have more information with which you can make a plan moving forward.
4. Give them the numbers
Show your team the research that lead you to decide that this change is worth it. Does the math show that you’ll save $100,000 or 50 man-hours a month? Your team will get why the process change is necessary if you walk them through your process analysis. Even better, show them what else you could do with that money or time.
5. Share the benefits of change
Make a habit of reporting back on benefits from process changes made in the past, so that your team members get used to the idea that change makes things easier and better in the long run. Thank the people who make change easier, without a lot of complaining that the old way was better.
Change isn’t always fun, but it’s a necessary part of life and one that’s brought about all the advancements we enjoy today. The best companies are constantly innovating, aka changing. If you want to be among the best, your team needs to be adept at embracing change and open to the idea of improving processes and habits that are holding your organization back.