15 Sep Implementing Change: It’s All About HOW You Ask
A key determinant of business success is the extent to which one can encourage colleagues to embrace new ideas and implement change. Truly successful leaders are able to motivate others and have them willingly develop and implement solutions to problems.
The natural tendency for many managers is to address issues by asking, “Can we….?” or “Is it possible to…?” as in “Can we deliver packages around the clock?” or “Is it possible to reduce inventory by 10%?” Often these questions are part of the budgeting process. Invariably, people tend to dig their heels in and come up with all the reasons why the answer is “No”.
I have found that simply by rephrasing the question from “Can we…?” or “Is it possible to…?” to “What will it take in order for us to be able to…?” completely shifts the focus of the request from a discussion of whether something is possible to a discussion of what changes are needed in order to make it possible. This small shift repositions the request from a narrowly focused, binary, yes/no kind of issue to a much more open-ended approach to the problem at hand. And then simple little changes or ideas such as “shipping parts separately rather than bundled” or “talking with suppliers about consignment”, can blow open an issue and make the solution readily apparent and much more accessible.
Try this Management Tip the next time you’re facing resistance to change. Let me know whether it helped and please share it with your network and colleagues.