Leadership: Promoting Organizational Change

I’ve seen it time and time again. Change can be a difficult thing to approach. First, people get comfortable with processes and can see altering them as an affront on their values. If you are at a company with processes that may need to change step carefully. People can take things personal.

Be careful but candid. Avoid implying that the old way is worthless or has no value. Instead, frame any suggestions as additions to the current system or approach. Remember, smart people probably came up with the current system. Attempt to understand the underlying value in it and clearly communicate how this value is strengthened in the new approach.

Change takes time and you have to earn the credibility needed to alter course. Don’t give up, instead make reference to your desire to help, keep things positive, share stories and slowly lead the changes that must take place.


Product Development: S/he who owns the compiler wins

Are you having a difficult time getting developers to improve your product, webpage, or other customer-facing item?

Start moving in the right direction and stop trying to simply persuade. Instead of making a data-less request, leverage the relevant information below to communicate the need for change. The five data sources below are hard for negate.

  1. Win-loss sales analysis
    • Are you losing valuable business?
    • How many prospects walked away because of the issue?
    • When surveyed, how many responses pointed you in this direction?
  2. Competitive Information
    1. Are your competitors advancing and leaving your product looking shabby?
    2. Get tactile. Print out descriptions, take photos, capture screen shots, and make videos to get the point across.
  3. Customer input
    • Look, there are three ways to get business: finding more customers, current customers renewing, and selling more products to your current customers Two of these three involve your current customers! How many of them want what you’re trying to get done?
  4. Market trends
    • What are the expert’s saying? Print out their insight and get it read.
  5. sales engineering and customer service input
    • For some reason these two groups tend to get a warmer response to their insight than sales people. Don’t ask me why. Survey these groups and find out what they think. Then compile the data and get it read.

They may try to refute your data, but be patient. Developers are inundated with requests just like yours. Once the to-do list gets long, their natural reaction will be to push back at more items. Your reaction would probably be the same!

The silver bullet to getting their buy in by helping them to prioritize the requests from your department.

Start by getting them to look at the items in their queue from your department. If you’re the manager of the department, tell them in what order you’d like the projects (or tasks) to be completed. If you are not the manager of the department, simply prioritize the list and get your manager’s approval.

Whatever you do, don’t be pushy or rude. Remember the golden rule? Say thank you, let them know you appreciate any help they can provide you, and keep the number of requests to a minimum. They’ll appreciate it and you’ll always get what you need, although not always what you want.