There are new demands placed on us every day. Leaders sometimes have to reshuffle assignments of members of the team. Change can present opportunities for individual career growth, but even under the best of conditions, resistance goes with the territory. How do you minimize it?
Early in my career, I worked for Bill who was a skilled storyteller. The first time I saw him use this skill was to persuade a person we will call Evan to switch assignments from managing a technically cutting edge system with a great business contact to a problem-ridden system built using obsolete technology with very difficult business counterparts.
He started by talking about the business problem caused by our problematic system and how it was starting to cause operational problems. Bill talked about how a more senior executive from operations had approached him about getting their best people together to solve the problem. The effort could culminate in a long-term solution which would lead to a technology upgrade. He then told Evan what gifts he had that made him uniquely suitable for this assignment. Bill then told Evan what he remembered about Evan’s career aspirations from their conversations, and explained how this assignment was a perfect fit and why. I knew that Evan loved his current assignment, so I was really surprised when Evan agreed to the switch.
Later, when I wanted to change my team’s assignments, I remembered this experience and tried to emulate it. It worked for me every time. Once, when I worked for a boss who had more of a command and control style– I followed her example once. I explained the bigger picture, how important the new assignment was to the company and our boss, and said that the new assignment would be a growth opportunity. It was a dismal failure. The person was back in my office the next day saying that she couldn't do it.
Every time after that, I remembered Bill's example and those conversations were successful.
What do you need to do to lead your team to agree to major changes? 1) Learn what their hopes and dreams are. 2) Frame the change in terms of the bigger picture, being sure to identify potential opportunities inherent in the change, 3) Explain how the change supports the individual’s hopes and dreams, 4) Explain how you see that person’s skills as being a unique and perfect fit for the new assignment.
Don’t expect that your team member will agree to a major change on the spot. Give them a few days to think about it and get back to you. Someone who chooses to make a change because she/he thinks it will be good for her/him will be more effective and successful than the one who is resisting it.
QUESTION: How do you help your team to buy into new assignments?====================================================================
Leadership/Career Coach Kris Ishibashi works with leaders to bring together their skills, their authentic selves, and their intentions to inspire their organizations to superior performance. Click here to set up a complimentary consultation.