Four Ways to Get Your Team on Board

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Enforcing big, complex change within an organization is an ongoing struggle, and the rate of success is alarmingly low. What is the challenge?

In many cases, it is the staff. According to Harvard Business Review research, getting the team on board is the biggest hurdle and the one with the most impact on change outcomes.

Change resistance and overcoming human psychology

Change, by its very nature, is a disruptor. It not only threatens the status quo, but flat out says, “What we’re doing isn’t working and we need to enact something new.” It is difficult for staff to hear this without internalizing a sense of responsibility for whatever process or system needs replacing.

But more than this, your staff will internalize the problem with thoughts of, “How will the proposed solution affect me? What is my new value to the business?” Psychologically, this resistance to change is easy to understand and comes down to two things: (1) the human need to belong; and (2) a sense of security.

As noted in the Harvard Business Review article, “How to Get Your Team on Board with a Major Change,” “Belonging refers to the survival-based belonging that enables any human infant to make it to adulthood and any human adult to fully function in collective settings they give loyalty to and receive identity from. Change will always threaten this kind of belonging and challenge its dearly held loyalties.”

The challenge is to enact change in a non-threatening way to increase buy-in.