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Sell change to a cynical staff

Whip up excitement, appeal to enlightened self-interest

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in Office Management,Payroll Management

Announce one big change and your staff might respond enthusiastically. Announce a second one right away, and they may still accept it. But if you abruptly shift direction every few months, your employees will conclude the company’s wild, whimsical addiction to change is a farce.

At that point, cynicism can set in. Take these steps to persuade them to keep the faith:

Remove your BS filter. If you’re perceived as a mouthpiece for the top brass, your staff will dismiss your pitch. But if you come across as authentic, they’ll listen.

When you discuss the next change, imagine you’re talking to yourself. Skip the here’s-why-we-have-to-do-this speech in favor of a more intimate, unguarded chat about what you and your employer hope to accomplish. Be honest, even vulnerable, about the risk of introducing another change. But emphasize the payoff if everyone makes it work.

Acknowledge your team’s doubts. Admit that you were dubious at first, too, then review point by point what won you over. Explain what your employees can gain by cooperating. Examples: Dangle cash bonuses, paid time off or more flexible work conditions if the change produces its intended benefits.

If your employees are tired of repeated changes, provide an outlet for their frustration:

Let them vent. Give an overview of the change and its purpose. Then ask for comments. Let workers voice their irritation and lambaste the organization for its lack of stability. Don’t feel you must defend every action, but do explain the rationale.

Negotiate timetables.Workers may reject open-ended change but accept short-term experiments with clear goals. Work with them to set deadlines for when those goals have to be met. Create incremental ways to measure the experiment’s success

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