The Neil Diamond Effect

At a recent (July 2015) Neil Diamond concert I watched him (we were seated up in the heavens at the 02) reach out and touch his fans in a way that emotionally connected with them…. though initially only those who were at stage level.  I suspect those were his true fans, his core followers, who had bought tickets within minutes of them being on sale.  They were up dancing from the kick-off.   After some time and more great songs those on the elevated seats around the arena started to get off their seats and dance. It started slowly with only the first couple of rows dancing, this was followed up with a ripple effect until the majority of people in all the rows were up and dancing.

It was interesting to watch the engagement with his audience and how time, influence or maybe confidence took over and Mr Diamond had the majority of people on their feet.

Not getting the change you want

When a company looks to introduce a company-wide change, or a Manager looks to introduce a change within their department, the information is often broadcast to everyone from a static space, a lectern on a staged area, or around a table.  The message is delivered; for some of the audience they would have heard the message before and be on board, I suspect these are the individuals who are at the front. For some they will have heard the message and be against the change or unsure of the change, they are possibly middle to back.  For some they will have heard rumours and for some this will be completely new to them.  For the Manager he may be thinking job done, message delivered.

Then there is wonderment why the transition isn’t  happening or if it does happen it doesn’t happen successfully.    Why is the change not successfully happening?  Why is there little buy-in?  Everyone heard what was said..

Using the analogy of the Neil Diamond concert, it is very apparent that in order to create any form of change, whether this be a company-wide, department change or even change for one person, Managers have to have a connection with difficult detractors as well as the easy adopters.

Many Managers will look to continue to court the early adopters of the change in the hope this trickles through to those who have not bought into the change.  This approach does not work.

Seven steps to winning over your detractors:

  1. Have a communication plan that has a stepped approach to engaging with your
    Fence sitters
  2. Think about the environment where you are delivering the message.  Get off the stage, step in front of the lectern, stand up and be seen.
  3. STOP telling your audience why it is great for the company; tell them what is in it for them.
  4. Allow people the opportunity to ask questions; do not take negative questions personally.
  5. Work with the converts to assist the detractors with questions at the time and following the broadcast.
  6. Do not be seen to be dodging, being dismissive or being annoyed with questions.  You have had more time to digest the changes than your audience.
  7. Have an open communication channel for those who have questions following the broadcast.

Do not assume that you will get the majority buy in with the initial broadcast, change takes time.

You can’t please everyone all the time.  Don’t try.