Got innovation-phobic team members? Use this handy guide to classify and overcome their objections.
In business, just about everybody claims to be for creativity and finding new and better ways to do business. Not only does innovation sound exciting, it also sounds profitable. But studies have revealed that while lots of folks claim to love change, when they’re faced with the reality of actually altering their usual way of doing business, they’re skeptical if not downright hostile.
Creativity may be cool but it’s also scary, so how can you get your team to actually embrace fresh ways of doing business? The first step, according to Dana Brownlee, the founder of productivity consultancy Professionalism Matters, is to take a careful look at your team’s foot draggers. Not every innovation-phobic employee is the same. Once you know what sort of change resister you have on your hands, you’re better placed to overcome his or her objections.
“In group settings they seem positive, but often make passive aggressive comments that are really thinly veiled jabs (I’m sure the new shipping process makes complete sense and I’m fully onboard, but I’m just wondering what we should say if customers complain about longer wait times?)” explains Levit.
The solution: Try to ensure they air their grievances in public so you can deal with rather than allow them to curdle the office environment with barbed comments and whispered insinuations. How can you accomplish this? “During a group session, ask each person to write their top concern about the change on an index card and ask everyone to pass them to the front of the room for review and discussion.”
The “Unique” Change Resister
“This is the person who feels that their situation is different. For some reason, they’re special and shouldn’t change along with everyone else,” Levit writes.
The solution: The fix here is straightforward. Simply stress that that the change will benefit everyone but that this positive impact requires 100 percent compliance.
The “We Need More Time to Study” Change Resister
This type is the victim of analysis paralysis, Levit says: “They don’t want to make a change until they’ve analyzed every possible scenario and option.”
The solution: Puncture their perfectionism by explicitly saying that “the goal is ‘directionally correct’ but not ‘perfect.’” Then get moving by setting out a limited time to study the issue. Once that time has elapsed signal that you meant what you said by taking decision action.
JESSICA STILLMAN is a freelance writer based in London with interests in unconventional career paths, generational differences, and the future of work. She has blogged for CBS MoneyWatch, GigaOM, and Brazen Careerist. @EntryLevelRebel