Over the last few weeks, I’ve had the chance to talk with several readers via email regarding issues occurring at the FBO level. And candidly, there is one topic that seems to be a recurring theme in my conversations. And that is the issue of how to increase buy-in among FBO employees.
For many FBO managers, gaining employee buy-in can be a difficult task. Although it is management’s job to endorse new programs and processes, successful implementation requires participation from the entire team. This is usually where things start to fall apart. After all, coping with change at an FBO can be tough. So tough in fact, that many employees go to great lengths to resist these changes. Unfortunately, upon seeing employee resistance, some FBO managers decide that it is easier to “listen to their people” rather than continue with the changes.
Although this decision usually helps keep the peace in the short term, the long term effects do not bode well for FBO leadership. This is largely due to the following:
The moment employees realize that there are no consequences for resisting change, they stop taking management seriously. One of the worst mistakes an FBO manager can make is giving their staff the impression that job duties are optional.
Contrary to what most believe, achieving buy-in from employees has very little to do with getting them to “like” or “want” change. Instead, buy-in starts from the top and employees take their cues from management. When employees see that their management team is hesitant, disengaged or uniformed about a new process, they will respond similarly. But when they see that upper management is united and enthusiastic about a new program, they are much more willing to buy-in.
Now, let’s talk for a moment about enthusiasm. When people hear the word enthusiasm, they tend to think that it refers to simply having a positive outlook or making positive statements. But enthusiasm can actually be expressed through concrete actions. Here are three things that communicate enthusiasm to your FBO employees:
Consistent Messaging: Consistency is essential to the implementation of any new program. When employees see that their entire upper management team is committed to a particular vision or direction, they are much more likely to buy in.
Transparent Ownership: When implementing a new program, make sure every employee has a specific role that is communicated to the rest of the group. This allows them to take ownership of their new tasks without feeling overwhelmed. Don’t forget to include a role(s) for the management team.
Follow-Through: During the initial phases of a new program, follow-through is what turns “new” into “normal.” Check-in regularly with employees to assess progress and answer additional questions.
How do you increase buy-in among your FBO employees? Leave your thoughts in the comments.