As a manager, now and then there’s no way around it—you have to introduce change.
After many years in web startups, I’m still amazed by how resistant people can be to even the slightest of changes. For example, an insignificant change such as replacing the website’s font, and dozens of users will complain that they prefer the old font better.
The work of a team should always embrace a great player but the great player must always work. – Alex Ferguson
But sometimes change is necessary, and I’m not even talking about change for the worse, such as cut-backs or lay-offs. Many times, change is the natural by-product of growth: you need to move to bigger offices, hire more people, rearrange departments and of course, introduce new technologies to manage various aspects of growth.
So, how do you get your team to embrace change? How do you lower their level of suspicion towards it and remove friction?
I’d like to share what I’ve learned.
But first, let me explain briefly how I learned this: though I wish our tool was one of those bottom-up easy to adopt tools, it simply isn’t. It requires adoption that can only be led from the top down, which makes for a big challenge.
Since it brings the most value to managers, it’s their job to get it adopted, and so I’ve watched many C-level executives lead adoption. With some of them I’ve brainstormed the process, others I just watched with awe as they—far more experienced managers than me—eased the tool into their companies with zero push-backs.
The Backseat Technique
And after a while observing, I noticed that the most successful ones followed a similar pattern. I call it the Backseat Technique.