Engaging Employees in Positive Change | Operational Excellence Quick Hits

Quick Hits share weekly tips and techniques on topics related to Operational Excellence. This week’s theme relates to Organizational Performance Part 9: Coaching Employees to Embrace Positive Improvement. We hope you enjoy the information presented!

, Engaging Employees in Positive Change | Operational Excellence Quick Hits, Future State Engineering
, Engaging Employees in Positive Change | Operational Excellence Quick Hits, Future State Engineering

Speaker 1: (00:05)
In today’s session, we’re going to talk about achieving buy-in. One of the important elements of the organizational excellence management system is to achieve buy-in from the employees and engaging the employees in positive improvement. This session, we’re going to talk about how to effectively get employees engaged and taking positive improvement for the organization utilizing the Socratic Method to persuade people and achieve consensus.

Speaker 1: (00:33)
One of the necessary conditions of operational excellence is to establish the mindset to achieve sustainable improvements. We need that improvement to be sustainable over the long haul. And while we’re doing that, we want to create a positive change in organizational culture. If you’re not familiar with the layers of resistance, the layers of resistance start out with layer zero, why change. You go up to an employee and you think of an idea that they can do to make things better.

Speaker 1: (01:02)
They don’t even understand why they need the change. First layer is to overcome layer zero, why change. Next layer is disagreement on the problem. Layer two is disagreement on the direction of the solution. Layer three is disagreement on the details of the solution. Four is disagreement on negative the ramifications. Five is disagreement on the details of implementation. Six is disagreement on the risks or Caldwell’s unverbalized fear.

Speaker 1: (01:30)
You’re going to have employees that are in these four boxes, our change matrix again, and we have our different icons that are in the change matrix. But layer zero, people see the positives of not changing, so they don’t even understand why they need to chain. If people are here, they think everything’s great, and so they don’t need to do anything different. It’s our job to get them to see that things aren’t totally great, and there’s always better ways to do things.

Speaker 1: (02:00)
You’re going to see some people here that only see the negatives of not changing or the alligator. They disagree that there’s even a problem. We need to get them to agree what is the problem that we need to focus on. And then we have these people that are in layer two that see the negatives to the change, so they disagree on the direction of the solution. You’re going to have people in one of these three boxes. Rarely are you going to see people seeing the positive of the change.

Speaker 1: (02:28)
Depending on where the people are, you need to use the Socratic Method to ask questions to get them to see the pot of gold. The Socratic Method is a form of cooperative argument dialogue between individuals based on asking and answering questions to stimulate critical thinking and draw out ideas. One rule: never tell a person that you’re speaking with that they’re wrong or don’t know what they’re talking about. You want to throw up resistance barriers right away. Do that.

Speaker 1: (02:58)
They believe that they’re right. They don’t understand that they might be using a false assumption to why they need to change. When we apply the Socratic Method, one thing you don’t want to do is if you don’t have experience in this, don’t do it in a group setting. Start doing it one-on-one. There’s opportunities every day to start using the Socratic Method. Prior to the conversation, what you want to do is clearly understand the objective you want to achieve.

Speaker 1: (03:28)
What do you want the people to try to see and go about achieving? Then clearly define the cause and effect thinking that is necessary to achieve the objective. Then during the conversation, present the idea and challenge the person to explain their justification for why the objective is not attainable. You want to do this to understand their current paradigm or false assumption. Then give a counter-example or an analogy where the current paradigm does not hold true. Then ask whether they had experienced that condition and let them explain their experience.

Speaker 1: (04:05)
Then challenge the person to articulate their cause and effect thinking using the new paradigm or way of thinking. So then we can achieve buy-in. Achieving buy-in, we need to understand those layers of resistance. We need to apply the Socratic Method. Again, before the meeting, prepare. Never tell a person that they don’t know what they’re speaking about. Use the appropriate types of questions. We want to use open-ended questions and probing questions.

Speaker 1: (04:34)
And use an analogy to demonstrate the thinking required to change the paradigm. Then practice, practice, practice. The only way you’re going to get good at achieving buy-in using the Socratic Method is to practice. And if you get good at it, you’ll be amazed at how you can influence people and how much that influence will have positive change for the organization.