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Getting The Buy-In

May 18, 2016 | 10:13 AM

So, you’ve realized that your company is stuck and really needs an upgrade, a better site, or some other structural change. You approach management but they are reluctant to accept your pitch, and your fellow coworkers' opinions are lukewarm at best. How do you get your associates to buy in?

Identify Your Championshand-523231_1920.jpg

First, you need to identify the people who will be impacted by the change. A Deloitte study notes that “if project members and end users don’t understand the objectives, confusion can prevail over purpose and commitment, increasing resistance to change and reducing the chance of success.”

Identify your champions. These are the people who can help you make it happen. Most change experts agree that starting from the top rung and working your way down is the most effective way to build support for change. Seek out coworkers who have gotten the buy-in from other executives. Find executives who inspire others in the office. They may be the ones most open to change, and can later serve as motivators for the rest of executive suite.

Cater Your Presentation to Company Culture and the Needs of Those Impacted

Be transparent. State where your system is lacking and how that impacts business. Don’t be afraid to admit to current system limitations and inefficiencies. Remember to give examples of these performance failures.

Understanding exactly why your company needs to change motivates people to find a solution. Finally, be certain to explain the change process and field any questions or concerns they may have.

Explain the Resources Needed for Success

Once you have identified who is impacted and why the changes need to happen, you have to explain the "hows" and "whats" of the project. These include project costs, internal support required, and expectations around time frame to complete.

Give numbers. If you’ve had a chance to talk with consultants and get quotes, now is the time to display them. Projects can be expensive and, though it may be difficult, it is important to be upfront about potential costs. Surprises tend to increase fail rates and may incentivize management to pull the project.

Besides monetary cost, projects require company personnel to dedicate time to work with consultants. Explain the scale of the project, the training, and the time commitment needed to ensure success.

Once you have consent from top management, it is much easier to convince those around you. People will inevitably be resistant to change and they want to make their voice heard; prepare to answer the tough questions and admit when you don’t have an answer. The more earnest you are with coworkers, the more willing they will be to listen to you. After all, they work in the same environment and have likely come across the same restrictions, they just might not realize their complete impact.

If you've made it this far, then congratulations, everyone’s on board! The next step is to choose a consultant.

Download 5 Questions to ask yourself before starting an eCommerce project.

Image via geralt on pixabay under a Creative Commons License.

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