Winning employees’ trust - How to make real change happen

In Kotter’s fourth step for change, “Communicating the vision for buy-in,” gaining that buy-in is more than just a one-way communication. Certainly consider sharing your message in videos, team meetings, newsletters, intranet, town hall meetings, etc. The critical thing is to create a flowing conversation about your vision … particularly with innovation.

As a leader, you’re asking your employees to take a risk in their careers, expose their creativity and work with one another in collaborative cross-silo teams. If that is not your culture’s legacy, there is a lot of work to do here around buy-in. Employees need to see innovation heroes visibly celebrated, ideas moved through to execution and an increased level of trust.

What’s just as critical is keeping the dialogue open. With innovation, the way we work is different and evolving. Employees will be working with new team members – maybe even people who are outside of the company. With all of this change, there will no doubt be issues and imperfections. Ultimately the innovation leader has to anticipate the bumps and help people “keep the faith” to overcome them by:

  • Conveying that all leaders have to work in this new way. If we’re going to innovate, it’s going to use the process we’ve all agreed to.
  • Keeping individuals informed of the progress of ideas and contributions.
  • Constantly telling stories – quick wins, testimonials from leaders and employees and the senior leadership’s views of progress are all sources of compelling stories.
  • Dealing with pain points transparently. We are all in this together – nothing says that more strongly than sharing what’s not going quite right and inviting people into the dialogue to make it better.
  • Continuing to share the goal when addressing short-term pain.
  • Keeping the guiding team together throughout the turbulence. Although the vision might be crafted, this is where the guiding team really “earns its paycheck” if the team can enable change in the organization and see its vision through.

Once you’ve won over employees, they’ll be willing to take action alongside the guiding team in support of the overall vision.

Next in this series: Step 5: Empowering broad-based action

Some of Our Clients

A Foundation of Experience Spanning over 20 Years