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Communicating & Getting Process Buy-In

A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog post about the importance of developing and implementing processes. While many agreed, I noticed a few comments about the challenge of communicating and getting buy-in for new processes. I empathize entirely with both of these concerns and how tricky it can be to gain the support you need to launch a new process, mainly if you work in an organization or department that leans heavily on reactivity as a strategy for getting work done. I want to share how I handle both communication and buy-in. Let's start with communication first.


1.) First, consider whether or not you need the cooperation and participation of others in the process. How can you determine this? First, will the process you create or the changes you make impact anyone other than yourself? Second, do you need others to cooperate or adhere to the new process for you to be effective and successful with the outcomes? If you answer yes to either of these, you must communicate with others about this upcoming change.

2.) Second, schedule a meeting with the people who a) can support or veto your process and b) will be most affected by this new process. Make sure to give yourself at least a few weeks before launching the process (if you can).

**Pro Tip:

Avoid scheduling the meeting during a very intense or stressful time within the department. For example, I worked in associations and did everything possible to avoid scheduling critical discussions within 45-60 days of an annual meeting. Why set myself up to talk to everyone when they are stressed, drained, and lacking focus?

3) Prepare the meeting to focus on three major points: the new process, why it's needed, and when you'd like it to go into effect. You want to ensure that your meeting is focused and your objective is clear-embrace the process. Let me explain further how doing this will affect your ability to get support for the process.

Getting Buy-In For the Process

Getting people on board with your process has a lot to do with what and how you communicate about the process. I recommend spending a great deal of time ensuring that your process is well-defined and planning how you will convey your points in the meeting.

1.) What exactly are you proposing? Be as specific as possible here. Are you implementing a new workflow or production schedule? Are you implementing new software? I shared in an earlier blog post that I held a meeting to discuss a new process for requesting updates within the LMS, and that was a change to the workflow between departments (mine and others).

2.) Detail the reason for the process. Processes are implemented to avoid or solve problems and increase the likelihood of consistent outcomes. Explain how your procedure will do that. In my last role, the organization purchased a new management software that required integration with the LMS. I told the stakeholders that not only did the integration require more work, but I told them specifically that I needed to follow 54 steps (yes, I counted them) up from 13 previously to create and successfully track one course in the LMS and new software.

Getting people on board with your process has a lot to do with what and how you communicate about the process.

3.) Use any qualitative or quantitative data you may have. In my example above, I shared that I counted the number of steps to create the course; in addition, I provided information about training and recommendations that I received from the LMS integration specialist. In other instances, I've shared customer emails, evaluation, needs assessment, and focus group data, and even scholarly research to underscore my rationale for the process. Show, don't tell why this is important.

4.) Provide a detailed overview of the process and what it will involve for all parties. Keep reinforcing the benefits as you do! Offer detailed instructions and training for everyone who must adhere to the new process. Doing this demonstrates your commitment to the outcome and goodwill toward your colleagues who will be affected.

5.) Finally, follow up within a few months. This is a massive part of getting buy-in for the immediate process and future recommendations and proposals that you might make. You want to share with everyone how the process is going, what you've accomplished or improved, and that this was worth the change and effort. If you can show that you have a track record of instituting smart and value-rich processes, then everyone is likelier to listen to you in the future. Remember this part of the communication process!



Hey, I'm Kandice

I'm a learning expert with tons of experience managing, designing, and developing learning programs as a solo learning leader. I love sharing my ideas and thoughts on how I do it and manage to enjoy it...most of the time. 

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