“But we’ve always done it this way” – seven words that can stop innovation in its tracks. When you come up against a company with processes that are inflexible and leadership that’s unwilling to change it, don’t give up. Changing or creating new processes is a great way to scale operations and drive company growth, and propel your career forward. This article explores how to create new processes, get your ideas implemented, and make a stellar impression along the way.
Here’s how to get started:
- Map out the process or change you are looking to implement and then analyze where the potential obstructions might occur.
- Narrow down a clear vision for the change, determining the values that are essential to the change, an “elevator pitch” (30 second speech) of why the change is important, and a strategy for executing that vision.
- Consider why there may be resistance to change. Is there a specific person who tends to stand in the way of change? Is it the company culture to keep things status quo? Are there people who don’t like other people telling them what to do or are hesitant to change in general?
- Consider what the real or perceived risks are. Will it cost the company money? Will it force them to change direction on a well-supported project? Will it result in personnel changes?
Pitch Your Idea
Once you figure out the psychology behind the resistance to change, you can better approach how to deal with it. You’ll need to sell this change, and have the backing to do it. The first step before pitching your idea is to acquire whatever resources you need to make the change in question.
These resources could be tangible things or information, but most likely, it will be people. Support from an executive sponsor will speak volumes to the rest of the staff and give you a wealth of credibility. Reaching out to get the perspectives of a diverse group of stakeholders will not only allow them to feel involved, but will alert you to any possible negative impacts on workflow.
These gathered resources will help you to lay the foundation to create buy-in from those who will be involved. This is the most important part; the way you communicate about this process or change will make or break the chances of your idea being implemented.
Begin in a friendly way, and show respect for other people’s opinions, even if they are negative. If you get negative feedback, genuinely try to see things from their point of view and be sympathetic to their concerns. Ultimately, people want to know how a change is going to affect them. Help them understand why this change is important, and how it will make their life easier or better. Then communicate how this new process or change will benefit the organization as a whole, and how it will also positively impact individuals. Close your conversation by making sure you know clearly if the person is on-board. If they aren’t, find out what they need in order to support your idea and return to them later when you have it.
Execute Your Idea
Be prepared with an implementation plan, but keep an open mind and include people in discussions of how this plan can be executed or improved. If they feel like their ideas are being heard, and even approved of, they will likely be more readily willing to get on board.
You’ll also want to create a sense of urgency around the new process or change so that it doesn’t get swept to the side in favor of more pressing initiatives. Present it as a strategic venture and be prepared to show projected positive impacts of the change and negative scenarios if the change is not implemented.
Follow Up and Report Your Success
Finally, once the change begins to be implemented, have evaluation tools ready so the change can be easily measured. Share often data that the new process is working as a way to keep people excited about the change.
Implementing a new process or change can be intimidating in some ways, but it is a great opportunity to show your strategic vision and leadership skills.
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