New Initiative Challenge | Transforming Staff Pushback into Momentum
You’ve designed a new initiative. The initiative will rocket you from the doldrums to your vision. Yet, staff resists the change. They’re not holding a sit-in in your office, but they might as well be.
Staff pushback persists because rewards for resistance exist. Some rewards are spontaneous and simple, such as conserving energy. Others reflect complex behavior patterns, perhaps springing from long-ago staff-management shuffles.
What can you do to change pushback into momentum?
Giving in Builds Calluses
First, don’t give in. When staff holler and you drop back, you reward resistance. You teach that opposition works.
Instead, show the truth. Staff resistance generates more work for everyone. “Everyone’s inviting three people,” you reply to a complaint. “Let talk about whom you’ll invite and how.” Plus, you add, sharing the work, “I’d like you to share what you discover at Monday’s staff meeting.”
Don’t stop there. Digging in your heels without adding value, breeds revolution. Consider the “why” behind the complaints. Then use this added value to strengthen the initiative. Keep digging around your initiative until you to uncover staff wins.
Then get those benefits in the light. For instance, you announce that anyone who joins your legacy society, attend legacy events as guests. Non-legacy staff members, of course, continue to work the event.
Pass Out Gold Stars
Remember when your teacher put gold stars on your papers? Teachers gave gold stars to students who excelled. Like your teachers, award “gold stars” to those who excel at your initiative. For example, a staff member brings in a research article that supports the initiative. Give them a golf star, that is, a shout-out at your staff meeting.
Blow up Resistance
Imagine, you’re working on an exciting new initiative. When you arrive at your office, staff is eager to tell you about their successes. You can turn pushback into momentum. Don’t give in. Add value. Pass out gold stars.