Creating Buy-in Around Change

The group Occupy Wall Street suffers from some of the same shortcomings represented in individuals and groups within the workplace in that they made a lot of noise over something they dislike, but lacked clarity around their cause. As for Occupy Wall Street, they’ve broken the law and as of the date of this writing, are being blamed for the layoffs of many uninvolved innocents. Unfortunately, this is terribly damaging to the credibility of their, um… well, I’d say cause or ‘what they want,’ but they reportedly haven’t clarified that, even for themselves. Few of their own protestors know what they want as an outcome.

Out of work: Employees craft sandwiches behind the counter at the cafe, where 21 of 100 have been let go

We’ve all heard it said, “Don’t make a complaint unless you have a solution.” I believe this is a valid mantra. I also believe it is valid to raise awareness of a situation in order to solicit buy-in and create collaboration around the concern. However, before a person or a group begins to make noise about it, they must have a shared vision and a clear cause. That takes planning.

You will get attention when you create noise. You are also likely to cause disruption and disturb the normal flow. It’s likely not the kind of attention that will produce positive change. You’ll unlikely solicit membership from credible leaders with influence if the noise you make and actions you take are not likely to make a positive impact against a clear cause and positive and meaningful outcome. If you cannot engender membership from highly credible, integritous leaders around your cause you are in trouble. Bugs are attracted to light. They are annoying, messy and produce inconvenience to those in their field of affect.

You won’t be taken serious if you don’t represent yourself as a leader (regardless of your position) with a vivid vision for change if you don’t have some viable and credible ideas that can at least motivate interest and create the environment for collaborative understanding and communication. You will not be able to create the required desire, engagement and action you need amongst those who have the power to support and effect change if you are disrupting or having a negative impact on business.

We need people within our companies and on the outside that are willing to get our attention for good. These kinds of leaders and visionaries have affected great changes in our country and in corporate America throughout history. If you are going to make a noise, if you are going to try to create positive change, do it in a way that motivates those who are affected by your noise to listen. If your noise and disruption negatively impacts those around you, if the “innocents” suffer casualties as a result of your actions, you’ll never solicit positive engagement around your cause – even if it is a good one.

If your organization doesn’t have a culture of inclusion, openness and transparency, begin a small focus group that collaboratively shares ideas that have the potential for the kinds of outcomes that are in the best interest of the company and its people. If you don’t consider what is important to the company and how what you want will benefit the company’s goals and objectives, you won’t get the attention or outcomes you seek.

You’ll get attention, but it won’t be good. The impact will likely be a huge blemish on your integrity, intelligence, credibility, popularity and employability.

Sheri’ Taber is an international award winning strategist, management consultant and CEO of The Peak Performance Group, Inc.