1. How to push through a change

    Article: AN0002388Updated: 27.12.2018

    Prepare arguments

    You should always prepare well arguments for the change and way how the change will be communicated. Prepare arguments for and think also about those against. If you show you understand objections, you will be better perceived and you will respond much better to the objections.

    Get approval/support from management

    Like with any other important change you have to get management approval. Even if your boss may be sceptical about the change inform him or her about your proposal, explain why you are convinced this will help your organization and try to get support for a pilot run.

    Pilot run

    Most of changes get accepted better if they are not implemented at once but step by step, spread in time. If possible prepare a pilot run, on which you can demonstrate benefits. Think also about options what to do, if you come across an open pushback and criticism or on the contrary a silent ignoring.

    Trying a new way of working in a smaller scale with a smaller number of employees has many advantages:

    • Management should approve your initiative that shall lead to process improvement, efficiency and effectiveness increase, labour productivity, risk mitigation etc. At the same time there is no extensive change across organization, so you do not get pushback that each change raises.
    • You can choose well your colleagues that will support you and with whom you can start the pilot.
    • During the pilot you will demonstrate the benefits and weaken pushback from those that would rather stay with old order.
    • You will get lessons learned that you will utilize during rollout to the whole company. At that time you will have many supporters that participated in the pilot and that will help you promote the change.

    Help from interested ones

    If you manage to get certain people interested and convince them to work with you on how the change will look like, you will get a significant help. If people can influence what is coming, it is much easier for them to accept it. Therefore, you can prepare in advance where you can step back and where to make a compromise.
    Similarly, somebody with an informal authority, an experienced employee, an expert, respected colleague or opinion leader can help a lot. However, you have to first convince this person with informal authority to help push this change through. Do not ask him to persuade others. This would be counter-productive. His or her authority would suffer and you would not get anything. Such a person will should manifest his or her attitude rather in informal discussions. The value of this person`s contribution is here we do not have a paid agitation but somebody who got convinced, who wants to give a chance to the change and his or her attitudes are credible. Opinion leaders should be won over first. Same as they can help you, they can contribute to get the change down if they do not believe it. And they cannot tell anything. If others look at them when you present the change and see the face look, emotions and degree of enthusiasm, they will easily understand whether they support the change or not and will join them, often loudly.

    Involving those concerned

    Intended changes do not often materialize because people do not identify themselves with them and are put in front of completed thing. The least that you can do is to announce the change and let people to express their opinions. However, much better is to involve people by making them co-authors of the change, e.g. by means of workshops where they will propose their own solution of issues. The resulting change than can be a combination of what you have planned and comments of employees.


    Like in case of any other change there will be many questions and people should get answers to their questions. Otherwise you head for rumours.


    Speak about the change again and again. Prepare a communication plan with which you will keep everybody informed. Through reminding the change will get perceived as reality even before it is actually implemented. Here you will utilize regular emails, informing on team meetings, short video spots with key people (managers, informal leaders, change supporters).

    Prize during rollout

    If you successfully managed pilot and go to rollout, it pays off rewarding users actively engaged in the rollout e.g. by a chance to win a tablet. Price of a tablet is very low compared to project cost (external expenses, time of project team). The prize motivates users to an early and active engagement. This way you will secure rollout success and get a theme for communication about the project that everybody will be following. If you do not have budget for such expenses try to ask management. When facing lukewarm reception from users, prizes will help you.

    Team work

    Big changes are done by teams of people. Personal features and ability to fulfill team roles is usually much more important than expert competencies. Read more about team role typology by Belbin.