Teams are critical for business owners, leaders, and managers at all levels. But it’s not always easy to get your team aligned with your vision — or get them to simply execute a task the way you want and need it to be done. Yet any leader, in any business or organization, has to find a way to effect change — and get your team to replace old habits and approaches with new ones.
The key lies in five ingredients. Each plays a vital role in transforming your team. Include these in your strategy, and you’ll be able to get your team lined up and doing what you want. There’s a certain magic to the combination, but the truth is, it’s all based on common sense.
Here are the 5 magic ingredients for getting your team to embrace change:
As with most everything in business, it all starts by knowing, without question, your purpose—your why—for doing what you do. You must be rock-solid in your conviction and passion for your purpose, and you must be able to articulate that purpose to your team in a way that gets them very excited about it.
If you’re not certain of your purpose, then you’re going to have a difficult time convincing anyone else to align with it and make the changes necessary for success. Don’t short-cut this critical ingredient.
Once you’ve shared your purpose, you need to paint a picture of the way things could look like in the future. This picture should be very compelling and inviting, showing something significantly different than what your team is seeing and experiencing today.
If your vision for the future is not too different than today’s reality, it’s not going to inspire anyone. The picture you paint of the future must scream out to your team that it will absolutely be worth their time and effort to make the necessary changes to get there.
If you truly want your team to do things differently, you’ve got to find the friction: the present conditions that are causing your team pain, frustration or dissatisfaction, and create a sense of urgency about moving away from them. This is the concept of the burning platform—the team is feeling pain points right now that they must get away from.
If there is no current pain or sense of urgency, your team is not likely to rally around you and make change happen. One solutions is to set the current platform on fire, so that everyone knows they will not survive for long if they simply follow the status quo.
To succeed in shifting the team into aligning with you, you’ve got to know what is holding them back. In most cases, it’s a fear of the unknown—the team lacks confidence or certainty that a new approach will work. They prefer operating within their comfort zone, drawing from their current base of knowledge and following familiar habits.
But there may be other forms of resistance at work. It may be your compensation program or your promotion criteria. It may be a new technology platform. Identifying these will lead you directly to the final ingredient necessary to effect change.
If you’ve shared a compelling vision, then you’ve painted a very different picture from today’s reality. For many on your team, they have likely operated the same way for a long time and are far more comfortable with the present approach. Many will be skeptical: either they don’t believe the change you’re after will ever happen, or worse, if it does happen, they don’t believe it will work. Believing in your vision requires them to make a huge leap of faith.
To overcome the team’s skepticism, break the transition—from where you are today to where you will be in the future—into smaller, more reasonable bite-sized steps. Then take the time to spell out just the first step. That first step is not nearly as daunting as the huge leap to the ultimate vision.
Packaging these 5 ingredients together will produce wonderful results. Not sure? Give it a try on something simple, just to prove that it works. Then move up to something more significant. Soon you’ll be moving mountains, changing, and improving your team’s habits on a regular basis.