Get Buy-in from Those Who Resist Change

Blog | September 27, 2013

Reading time: 4 min

One of the biggest mistakes leadership can make is to push change on an organization without including impacted employees in the process and get buy-in early. I think everyone can agree that change is essential for remaining relevant and ahead of the curve. But, while some organizations encourage change, employees often fear it or resist it. I guess you could theoretically implement change in isolation, but you would have the perfect recipe for disaster. True leadership demands getting buy-in from those you lead. What’s more, doing so can make your job easier and adoption sooner when your employees are on board.

So, imagine you have an idea and a vision for your organization that will provide huge cost savings, efficiency, and more!  Now, how do you convince them?

1. Share the Vision

The first step is to lay out the vision of what is changing and why.  Show employees where you are today and where you intend to be tomorrow.  Include your staff in demonstrations of the solution you want to adopt.  Show them why this matters to the organization as a whole and how it will positively impact them and their success.

2. Engage Key Stakeholders

Identify and communicate with all stakeholders and seek their buy-in early in the process. For example, frequently do we see software implementations steer into a wall when IT or the business does not have mutual buy-in.  It is important that the vision is aligned and both can see the benefits.  The more buy-in you have in your organization early on in the process, the easier it will be to execute your initiative.

3. Empower People

Engage people early and assign roles to each person that play to their strengths so they are part of the process. When people are set up for success, they are more motivated to contribute and achieve. Be clear with each person about how their work is vital to the outcome.  This collaborative approach will be a sure motive of your employees to follow your lead toward change and adopt the proposed solution.

4. Nip Resistance in the Bud

Be aggressive in addressing instances where you see resistance. This is important for two reasons. First, small problems have a nasty habit of ballooning into bigger ones. Second, you don’t want unhappy employees poisoning the minds of other employees who have already bought in.  Don’t let the natural gripers and complainers get in the way!

5. Be Prepared to Change the Change

And just as employees resist change, sometimes we fail to realize that our own changes aren’t working the way we want them to. It is typical to realize that there may be a better way to do things than before and forcing the old way into a new solution just doesn’t cut it anymore.

Assuming you have the right people on the right task, solicit their feedback during the process. Also, look to your consultants and vendors who are implementing your solution for recommendations based on their experience and expertise.  Include your key stakeholders in these decisions and be prepared to take the advice they give and adjust your own game plan.  This is one of the ultimate signs that you value the buy-in your employees have for your ideas.

Now that we know why buy-in is so important to change, let’s consider its importance when implementing the Billtrust solution.

As you go through the implementation process IT and Business involvement will be necessary.  While IT involvement is minimal, it is important to have a stakeholder identified and bought in early.  In many situations we have seen the challenges organizations face as they ramp up with the solution and the struggles to get IT to adopt.  Typically, it is because of lack of project prioritization or information presented around the solution.  Those who are successful, prepare for the project success by creating buy-in early which speeds adoption and creates evangelists in the organization.  Over time, this enforces the new process and keeps employees committed all the way to achieve a positive outcome.