Organizations spend megabucks on change initiatives. All too often, an inordinate amount of time and resources are spent on everything leading up to and including the rollout. The rest is left to manifest organically, assuming people in the organization will pick up the charge.
Many companies do a good job of explaining the need for change, at least from the company’s view. They pull groups together and talk about the change needed and about the impact on the company if they either do or don’t move in the direction of change. They lay out the steps required to lead to that change. They attempt to sell the change, or put the best possible spin on it.
A mistake many make when selling change is they address only groups when discussing the direction of the change and it’s imperative. For change leadership to be effective, people on all levels need to understand the value of the change for them and not just for the company. Often overlooked is the role of the individual in change.
Teams, departments, divisions and companies are all made up of people. Each individual needs to be sold. They have different needs, wants, fears and need to be convinced that the change will be good for them. Individuals can contribute to the derailment of change efforts if they don’t see value. If the change initiative is rolled out only to groups without specific and targeted efforts to sell individuals, then change will be less effective.
It’s important for followers to see that people on the top levels are committed to change. But it’s also important that the change initiative be well planned and executed from all levels and that key people officially charged with leadership and unofficially involved in influencing the direction of change are sold.
Before the roll-out of the change initiative, key individuals, influencers, unofficial leaders and official leaders within the group need to be identified. They need to be sold and preferably enlisted as change agents so they are not working against the steps to change. They, in turn, should be enlisted to sell others.