How to Gain Buy-In for Change

As Mike listened to his SVP discuss the new strategic plan at a recent sales manager's meeting, he had an uneasy feeling.

It was just announced that the company was changing its sales strategy – completely. The implications for Mike and his team were huge.

Mike was worried.

He wanted to say, “Hold on, I’m confused. We’ve got loyal customers. Our sales are great, at least on my team. Why mess with success?”

But he kept quiet. He decided to hear what his SVP had to say.

Here's how the SVP gained Mike's Buy-In

Prior to the sales meeting, I urged the SVP to develop his talk based upon the remarkable book Managing Transitions, by William Bridges. In this bestseller, Bridges highlights information that can help an audience accept and even embrace change. Thankfully the SVP followed these guidelines. Here they are:

1) Honor the Past - Acknowledge the good work of the past and the collective accomplishments of the team. Honoring the past brings new people up to speed and validates the rest of the team.

2) Describe the Reality of Changing Business Conditions – Share what is happening in the industry that requires a response/change.

3) Share Why Change is Necessary – Talk about why status quo is not an option. "We've come to realize that if we don't take action, the consequences won't be good for us. Here is what prompted the shifts in role/scope..."

4) Talk About a Vision – Paint a picture of a bright future. “With the new roles/team we can accomplish X - if we come together and collaborate as a team.”

And it worked! Mike and the other sales managers began to relax and they even got excited about new possibilities. Once the team saw that the change was driven by a business case, they opened up and started contributing ideas. The team shifted from resistance, to focusing on solutions.

What followed was a constructive conversation based upon a new level of trust.

You too can get audience buy-in by using these four guidelines. Try it, and let me know how it goes. I love hearing from my readers.

You’ve Got This!


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