The challenge of overcoming employee resistance is a hurdle both small and large business owners face.As your business grows, it has to adapt to changing circumstances. Trends and tastes change, and new challenges emerge; and it’s the most flexible, adaptive businesses that survive. This evolutionary process can be painful – especially when your employees are resistant to change.
From my experience, balancing the needs of the business, and the desires of its employees, is the most common problem facing small business owners and their managers. Implementing structural change in a business has become a dreaded necessity – but it needn’t be.
Here are 8 surefire strategies to overcoming employee resistance; the most effective, efficient and productive ways to create successful change in your business.
#1. Check your attitude.
Addressing your own attitude might sound contrarian, when it’s clearly the employees who have a stubborn attitude – but as a business owner or manager, you have to first put on the mindset that the “buck stops here”.
There’s no need to be a “barker”or a “dictator”if it doesn’t suit your personality – but if employees are resisting change, their lack of cooperation is probably because you’re letting people walk all over you. Check your attitude:
Are you catering to their needs?
Are you caving in to their resistances?
Are you managing conflict, or are you avoiding conflict?
#2. Commit to being the leader.
If people aren’t listening to you, they’re not following you. People follow leaders.
Eleanore Roosevelt so famously said, “If you have to tell people you’re a lady; you’re not a lady.”The same applies to management. If you have to tell your people to listen to you, you’re not a leader — or at least, you’re not acting like a leader.
Overcoming employee resistance starts with committing to be a strong leader. I often discover that managers and business owners who struggle with overcoming employee resistance hold misconceptions of what a leader is. A leader is not a dictator. A leader is not barker. A leader does not need to strong arm or threaten their people to do what you need them to do.
Reframe your definition of a leader as being more of a coach. If you were the new Head Coach of a football team and you needed to develop a group of underdogs into a championship level team, ask yourself:
Have you cast an exciting, clear vision of where your company (team) is going?
Are you raising the bar on their effort, performance and work ethic?
Are you holding each team player accountable to follow through – or are you letting them slack?
#3. Have clear player POSITIONS.
One of the biggest hindrances to overcoming employee resistance to change is that employees were never given clear expectations to begin with.
What exactly was each person hired for?
What position are they playing on your team?
If they’re hired to play wide receiver, then clearly define the role of a wide receiver. Don’t confuse and frustrate your players by having them play linebacker, quarterback, defense and wide receiver all in the same game.
People’s reactions are always based on their expectations. If you’re constantly throwing new changes to their job function it’s understandable that employees would grow increasingly frustrated. After all, they’re trying to hit a constantly moving target.
Employees end up thinking “Hey, this is not what I signed up for!”–and their motivation plummets.
In order to mitigate that:
#4. Have clear player EXPECTATIONS.
If you want to stop the reaction of resistance, start by setting clear player expectations.
Do you have a written job description for each player?
Is the language crystal clear in objective terms rather than subjective and open to interpretation?
Does it define performance that meets expectations, falls below expectations or exceeds expectations?
#5. Don’t “pass the buck”
If you don’t have written job descriptions, avoid the temptation to allow people to define their own roles or write their own job descriptions.
Having your employees write their own job description is only valuable as a barometer to assess their expectations of their role within the business; and how they align with your expectations.
I do not recommend taking this approach to let your players write their own player positions and expectations for you. That’s your job. These are decisions that should be made by you.
Ok, now that you’ve read this far, you’re ready to dive into
In Part 2, let me share three more tips and techniques for creating successful change in your business; and even explore how you can benefit from them in all areas of your life!
#6. Hold firm expectations.
Once you set your expectations, you need to hold firm to them.People can tell whether you’re firm or fake. They can smell that fear a mile away. Overcoming employee resistance to change will only continue to be a challenge if managers continue to waver on setting clear, firm expectations.
What are the non-negotiable expectations you have for each employee?
What is the language you use to communicate those expectations?
What is the tone you project? What does your non-verbal communication say?
#7. Build relationships.
Overcoming employee resistance to change doesn’t come from focusing on their behavior; but from focusing on your relationship.
Employee resistance occurs when there’s no respect.
There’s no respect because there is no trust.
There’s no trust because there’s no relationship.
There’s no relationship because there is no consistent one-on-one time.
Remember that: relationships are NOT built in groups. Relationships are built one-on-one
How often do you schedule one-on-one time with each of your direct reports?
Do you critique your employees more than you appreciate them?
#8. Find out their “WHAT”and their “WHY”.
As business owners and managers, we all want a team of players who are highly self-motivated. Self-motivated people are naturally self absorbed. But, in this case, being self absorbed is not a bad thing.
If you want your people to care about what you care about (growing the company), then you need to first care about what they care about.
Why? Because creating success is about creating a win-win situation for everyone.
When you’re struggling with overcoming employee resistance, remember:
“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
How much do you know about each employee?
Have you ever asked what motivates them?
Have you ever asked what their goals are, in both their professional and personal lives?
Have you ever asked why? What would achieving that goal allow them to do, be or have, that they don’t have right now?
Benefiting from these skills in all areas of your life
As a parent, I want to raise my three kids to be highly self-motivated people. Like most parents, I want my kids to dream big and reach their full potential.
Despite this, I started noticing that I was nagging my son, Thomas, to get out there and practice his soccer drills. I was annoyed that I was investing time and money into his soccer training, but he was RESISTING the advice of his coach.
I decided to apply these same strategies at home. When he was around 12 years old, I sat down with my son and asked him: ‘What’s your dream?’
His answer – to become a professional soccer player.
We talked about his why, and defined what would that allow him to achieve his desires in life. Then, all I had to do was show him what separates the extraordinary soccer players from the less extraordinary soccer players.
We defined what the extraordinary soccer players did to get there —(exceeding expectations)
We defined what lesser soccer players did —(meeting expectations)
We defined what failed soccer players did —(below expectations)
‘Thanks for believing in me’
My son Thomas will soon be turning 15, and I’m happy to report that I haven’t had to nag him since that conversation when he was 12. In fact, I truly admire how highly self-motivated he has become. The snow or rain does not stop him from running outside or practicing his shots on net. He is not only disciplined in his cross training routine at home, he’s also surprisingly disciplined in choosing what he eats as an athlete.
The best part as a parent was the day my son took me aside and said, “Mom, thanks for believing in me.” Wow! I can last on those 6 words for the next 6 years!
As a business owner or manager, it’s the same thing. When you have an employee who takes the time to say, “Thanks coach, for believing in me.” – that’s the kind of stuff that fuels your tank for many more years to come.
Not only do these strategies help you in overcoming employee resistance to change; they can benefit all areas of your life. Instituting these 8 starter strategies also nurtures fierce loyalty among your employees – creating motivated, productive players that will go over and beyond their call of duty.
QUESTION: What is your biggest challenge when it comes to overcoming employee resistance? Please share your comments in the box below. You can also download my handy cheat sheet on Creating High Performing Teams Here.
Did you know the average time visitors spend looking at a website is less than 8 seconds? And for many websites it’s even as low as just 3 or 4 seconds.
That’s not a whole lot of time to capture their attention, interest and desire to inspire visitors to take action in becoming a lead.
If you’re ready to transform your small business website from being a cost center into a client generating profit center then use the following 7 most common website mistakes as your checklist to grading your website performance.
These are the 7 most common reasons why website visitors could be aborting your site and moving on to your competitors.
Here’s a rundown of what your website visitors could be thinking and how to fix it.
Reason #7. I have no idea what you do.
This happens when your copy is not specific enough, especially when the name of the business does not instantly define what you do.
Does your tagline clearly explain what you do and who you help?
Here are some actual examples of confusing taglines I found on my tour of websites:
X “Finding paths of opportunity” X “Envisioning the future” X “ We’re a new company and we like to have fun while working smartly, efficiently, and while constantly innovating.” X “Looking at information in new ways”
Hmmm… so would you get what any of those businesses do based on these taglines?
Reason #6. You sound like everyone else.
It’s important to keep in mind that the website visitors who are in the market to hire someone like you are most likely checking out a number of your competitors.
So, it’s not enough for you to state the obvious.
For example, if you’re a builder / remodeler it’s not enough for your website to simply tell people you do design and installation for kitchens, baths and additions.
Why not? … Because isn’t that what all builders and remodelers offer too?
Remember, you’ve got less than 8 seconds. You want to articulate your wow factor and stand out.
Reason #5. This looks like a student created your site.
You know the saying that you never get a second chance to make a great first impression.
If your website design looks sloppy and unprofessional it projects to your visitors that your services are probably sloppy and unprofessional too. It pays to hire a skilled web designer who has the graphic design abilities you may lack.
And for business owners on a tight budget there’s lots of great templates today that can quickly transform an ugly website into a gorgeous, professional looking site.
Reason #4. It’s too hard to read your website.
Why make it difficult for visitors to read what’s on your webpages? if you don’t make it easy they will be gone quicker than you can say goodbye.
Check your site for poor readability:
Fancy font styles that are too hard to read.
Crazy colors — like pastel blue lettering on bright green background.
Long chunky, verbose paragraphs.
Messed up formatting when trying to view from mobile devices.
Tiny font sizes that make people strain their eyes to read.
Reason #3. You’re not talking to me, personally.
When you’re trying to promote your business it’s easy to fall into the trap of making the copy all about you and how great you are. But, taking this “brochure style” approach doesn’t really grab the prospect’s attention because people just really care about themselves … hence, why people leave so many websites in 5 seconds.
Be sure your headlines, your sub headlines and home page copy really jump out talking about the specific problems and challenges your prospect struggles with.
If you’re a chiropractor, what’s the downsides they’ve experienced having tried other chiropractors
If you’re a caterer, what do other caterers not do as well as you and your team?
If you’re a financial consultant for family run businesses what is unique about your process that solves their cash flow problems faster and easier?
Take a good look at the words on your website. Are they sweeping generalities? Are you using words and catchphrases that could literally describe businesses in many other industries?
Reason #2. I didn’t get a sense of trust and credibility.
Remember, before you can win their business you must first win their trust that you truly are the go to expert in your field.
Here’s some common some common mistakes that could be hurting your trust factor:
Lack of compelling client testimonials from real people (not just first name last initial.)
No blog to educate readers.
No picture and bio of you the owner.
No Picture and bio of your team if you have one.
No social proof.
When you have all these things people stay longer on your website and while doing so increases their trust.
Reason #1. I don’t see a reason to keep in touch.
It’s hard to expect a new visitor to become a customer after only spending 8 seconds on your website.
That’s like expecting someone to agree to marry you after just meeting you at a social for eight seconds.
This is why it’s so important to immediately grab your visitor’s attention with a relevant, irresistible free offer that they are willing and excited to give you their email address for.
TIP: signing up for your free newsletter is not a terribly effective free offer.
Instead, here is an example of a relevant, irresistible offer:
QUESTION: Which of these 7 common website mistakes do you struggle with the most? Share with us in the comments below!
Making an impact on social media is not an easy task especially if you do not have any social media tips from renowned experts. If you think about it, an average user’s timeline/feed gets updated with thousands of posts in an hour. This number increases drastically when users search for popular keywords. Businesses of all sizes have adopted social media platforms to get noticed. If you’re looking to stand out on social media, here are 12 expert tips to help you out:
Social Media Tips #1: Get inspired from your competitors’ content.
Social media expert and founder of RazorSocial, Ian Cleary, reckons that getting inspiration from your competitors’ content is the key to resonating with your customers. Don’t copy, get inspired and think about different angles. Different unique angles also increases the potential virality of your content.
Social media marketing guru, Jeff Bullas, says that a brand has to be memorable in order to be noticed on social media. All the text and visual content has to be high quality. Constant promotion is also the key. This will help businesses grow their audience as people are more likely to share your content.
Social Media Tips #3: Don’t try to use all platforms
Founder of the Content Marketing Institute, Joe Pulizzi, says that small businesses need to have a clear social media channel. He urges brands to not make the mistake of trying to use as many platforms as possible. By focusing on 2-3 social media platforms, businesses can post better content and keep track of their results more accurately.
Social Media Tips #4: Re-purpose more popular social media posts into blogs.
Ted Rubin is a renowned social media strategist, speaker and author. By using popular social media posts for blog posts, the potential virality of your posts increases greatly and the interest among your audience is peaked.
Social Media Tips #5: Create high quality visual content
Neal Schaffer, a business social media expert, notes that pictures are a prominent part of social media. Brands that use high quality images to supplement their posts, capture their audience’s attention and turns them from random viewers into loyal readers.
Social Media Tips #6: Be consistent at posting your blogs.
Kissmetrics Founder and expert blogger, Neil Patel, has observed that brands do not need to have unique content but consistency is a must. Consistency will help you get more traffic and consequently more leads.
Jay Bear, marketing expert and author, recommends looking into “micro- opportunities.” These opportunities are very small time periods when your audience is most likely to be on social media. For example, if you’re target audience involves businessman then posting between average meeting times will get their attention. Small businesses that are B2B can use this system to get more views.
Social Media Tips #8: Hire content writers who are passionate about your field
Kim Garst, CEO of Boom Social, advises that those in charge of creating content have to be passionate about their field. When a marketer or writer is passionate, it shows in their work and becomes contagious. Users will like and share your content on their own channels and thus your content will reach more people.
Social Media Tips #9: Establish a consistent brand in all your social media images.
Canva founder, Zach Kitschke, says brands have to establish a visual style that is recognizable by their audience. To do this, consistent use of the same fonts, colors, logos etc are required. Every image doesn’t have to be the same but the tone has to remain consistent. When users start to recognize your visual style, they can spot your content more easily in a flood of social media updates.
Social Media Tips #10: Join the discussions on social media.
Mike Volpe, HubSpot CMO, recommends joining communities and taking part in discussions when brands first get on social media. Meaningful discussions will drive people to check out your account and consequently your website.
Social Media Tips #11: Share great advice on social media.
Adam Connell, an expert blogger, asks businesses to lend a helping hand without expecting any returns. By offering solutions to your users’ most common problems for free, you build trust and loyalty. Great advice will turn readers into potential customers.
Marko Saric, founder of HowToMakeMyBlog, advises that rather than randomly following people on social media, businesses should target peers and influential members in the industry to bring attention to their own blog/brand.
Start using these social media tips in your marketing plan today.
Even though most job descriptions for sales roles typically say that the candidate most be “self motivated”, as a business owner you’ve probably realized by now it is wishful thinking that merely hiring “self motivated” people will by itself, lead to creating high performing sales teams. Remember to keep your sales force motivated
Whether you have just one or two sales representatives or you have several dozen, either you as the business owner, or your sales manager (if you have one) need to play a vital role in keeping your sales force highly motivated.
Holding regular, effective sales meetings with your team is one way of keeping your team highly motivated. The key word here is “effective”. So, how does one make sure your sales meeting is effective?
This was the question asked recently but one of my email subscribers:
Q: “I have a team of 11 sales reps who have all been working for me for the past 5-10 yrs. I know I should be holding regular meetings with them, but I’m stuck on what to talk about each week.” ~ Bob Kelly from Austin, Texas
A: Bob, you are absolutely correct on having regular meetings with your team. Regular sales meetings is an essential key to grow your business. Every member of your team is expected to be better each day. I have come up a meeting structure for you which you can use to help motivate your sales force. I have used this same method myself in planning 1,000+ sales meetings I’ve delivered over the years.
Part I: KEEP YOU SALES FORCE MOTIVATED BY RECOGNITION
Whether you’re have a team of 11 people, 80 or just 4 sales people, it sets a positive tone and energy to kick off your sales meeting with sincere recognition. Find something to recognize in some or all of your meeting attendees. In addition to verbally recognizing people it’s important to add visuals. People like to see their names in writing. It can be as simple as writing congratulation messages on poster boards and plastering them throughout your conference room or as formal as having a new name engraved each week or month on a sales award plaque.
You can reinforce that recognition in bi-weekly emails to your sales team as well as including it in the printed version of your sales meeting agenda.
Recognition is especially addicting for sales people, so make sure you apply generously to your team. When you recognize positive behavior you attract more of that same positive behavior.
Avoid falling into the trap of negative thinking like — “why should I recognize them for just doing their job?” Because when you take that philosophy you will likely end up going many weeks without giving any recognition at all.
As a mother, anytime my husband or kids tell me I made a great dinner it not only makes me feel appreciated (even though it’s my job to feed them) it also motivates me to make an even better dinner the next meal.
Making your sales people feel appreciated goes a long way.
RELATED VIDEO CONTENT:
Part II: KEEP YOUR SALES FORCE MOTIVATED BY INFORMATION
This is the housekeeping tid-bits — FYI kind of stuff you want everyone to be aware of and note in their calendars, project folders, etc.
This part of the sales meeting is for you to share things like:
Here are two new marketing resources now available to you.
Here are upcoming deadlines in our company…
Part III: KEEP YOUR SALES FORCE MOTIVATED BY INSTRUCTIONS
Never undermine the importance of ongoing training. Sometimes I hear from some grow your business that they don’t need to train their top sales people because they’ve been doing their jobs for 10 years, and they know what they’re doing.
I emphatically disagree!
That’s like expecting pro football players to skip the training camp and send them right into the kickoff game – bad idea! Spend 30-45 min during your weekly sales team meetings to help your people improve one specific skill they use and need, so they can better perform in their jobs. Trust me, even for your seasoned sales reps you’ll never run out of drill-for-skill content.
Part IV: KEEP YOUR SALES FORCE MOTIVATED BY INSPIRATION
It’s often more effective for your people to be inspired by the milestones achieved by their own colleagues than just being talked at the entire meeting by their boss.
You want to leverage the fact that sales attracts people who tend to have a competitive spirit, so inviting the week’s top performer to teach their peers is a powerful motivation for both for the person teaching and for their peers taking notes.
The person teaching ends up feeling like they now have a reputation they need to keep. And, their peers end up thinking — “hey, if they can do it, so can I” or “I can do even better than that”. By doing so people will see this as friendly competition, keeps your sales force motivated to hone their skills further.
So, invite one of your sales leaders to share for 5-15 minutes on how they achieved ______.
How I got 85% of my leads to return my calls this week. How I got 200% more referrals this month. How I got all the decision makers to attend the 1st presentation meeting. How I have my best sales month ever.
This is the fifth and final part of your sales meeting. You, as their boss/sales manager make a big impact in keeping your sales force motivated or de-motivating your sales team. We see this happening all the time in sports. A football team won’t play their best if they’re constantly barked at by a dictatorship style coach or by a coach who appears hands off and indifferent.
They have to want to excel. Even the people who insisted they were self-motivated will still perform far better with a deliberate dose of motivational words from you each week as their leader keeps your sales force motivated.
Everywhere you look, there are so many success stories of other small business owners who started from a simple idea to create a thriving, profitable business they love. Their big achievements can make entrepreneurship look so easy, but the truth is they all went through a series a learning curves and had to overcome real challenges along the way.
If you’re not where you want to be in your business, you’ve got to first decide you are going to do something different to change. After all, if you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’re getting.
[Definition of insanity]: Doing the same thing while expecting a different outcome.
So, how do you get from where you are in your small business to where you want to be Here are 6 simple steps you can take action on today to get you closer to creating a thriving and profitable business you love. How to Get From Where You Are in Your Business to Where You Want to Be
1. Write down your dream outcome goal and your why.
If you want to transform your business you’re going to have to make some changes. But, change is hard because it requires you to get out of your comfort zone. It’s even harder to change if you aren’t super clear what you’re doing it for. That’s why it’s super important to paint a very specific picture of what your dream outcome goal looks like.
It’s not enough to say you want to grow your business to give your family a better life. Use the SMART goal method to help you be more specific. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timebound).
Here’s an excerpt from what I wrote down in 1998 when I was starting a new business and starting our family at the same time.
Dream Outcome Goal – SMART
Get my new business to generate half a million a year in revenues within the first 3 years.
That was the number that would pay the bills, maintain cash flow for the business and pay off my mortgage to be debt free.
Do this while working part time (15-20 hours per week) by year 3.
Having grown up with parents who both worked overtime every week (because they had to) I desperately did not want to miss out on those special toddler years with my own kids.
With God’s help I was able to hit my two dream outcome goals by year 4. I know I would have definitely not hit these goals if I stated it in general terms like “I want to make more money and work less than I do now while making an impact in people’s lives”. Writing down specific target numbers I wanted to hit and what was at stake for me (my WHY) helped me stay laser focused.
2. Write down 3 things you know you should START doing and start doing them.
Pretty profound stuff isn’t it? I find with all of us, there are a lot of little basic common sense kind of stuff that we all know in the back of our minds that we should do. The first thing that keeps us from doing it is because we aren’t writing it down. If it’s something important enough to do, it’s important enough to write down. It reminds us to get it done. After all, knowing what to do never changes anything. We have to actually execute.
So, go ahead and write down all the easy stuff you know you should do. If you’re lacking energy it might be as basic as drink 64 oz of water every day, do a 30 min exercise routine every Tues-Thurs-Sat. and eat more fruits and veggies each day. If you know you should delegate more because you’re working way too many hours, then start delegating 5 hours of tasks off your plate or even just 1 to 2 hours to start.
3. Write down 3 things you know you should STOP doing and stop doing them.
If you’re not where you want to be in your business there’s something you’re doing wrong and you need to stop doing it. Because whatever you’re doing is not taking you where you want to be.
Here’s a short list of what some of my small business clients have shared with me they know they should stop doing:
Stop doing your own bookkeeping. Hire one.
Stop being a perfectionist. It’s making tasks take way more time than it needs to take.
Stop doing repetitive tasks. Start automating it.
Stop working “in” the business, so you can work “on” the business each day.
Stop saying yes to everything. Protect your time.
Stop worrying about what might happen. You can’t worry and achieve peak performance at the same time.
What about you? What are those things you already know you should stop doing? Write them down and commit to stop doing those things that are undermining your own success.
4. Write down the 1 biggest challenge you’ve been struggling with in your business for the longest time.
I can’t think of any great success story where the person did not have to overcome a big challenge. Get clear at identifying what is the biggest challenge that has been getting in the way of your business success.
5. Write down 3 things you tried to do to overcome that challenge.
Just doing this one exercise alone has helped many of my business coaching clients come up with better ways to overcome their challenge all on their own. There is power of clarity that comes from simply writing down and assessing what you’ve tried so far to overcome your biggest challenge.
6. Write down 3 people you could seek out who has the expertise you’re missing.
Mature people know what their expertise is in and what their expertise is not in. Immature people (or prideful people) try to figure everything out on their own.
Your area of expertise may be as a lawyer or as a healthcare practitioner or as a relationship coach, etc. If you know you are not yet an expert in marketing or sales or in scaling your business, what’s stopping you from seeking out those experts?
Somebody out there knows what you need to do to get you from where you are to where you want to be. What successful entrepreneurs do is when they don’t know how to solve something, they don’t waste months or years trying to figure it out on their own. They seek out others who have expertise in overcoming those challenges.
In closing, I want to encourage you to take action on these 6 steps today. I also invite you to take a small step of accountability and share your progress on my brand new Ask Yoon page. You can also post questions that come up for you during the process.
QUESTION: What is your greatest takeaway from this blog article? Please share your comments below.