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How to Up-Sell Change

As Freud cautioned, it's insanity to keep doing the same thing and expect different results. You know things have to change. Business as usual is a guarantee to fail. Your boss supports you, but is fairly lukewarm about resources and time commitments. Your staff agrees but then claim they are too busy. Activity traps, inertia, disinterest, ambivalence, fear people fabricate (consciously or unconsciously) lots of reasons to avoid making change. This is a frequent organizational dilemma: a needed change stalls before you even get started.

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Unless you're willing to wait for a crisis (that usually means someone gets fired), start thinking about "up-selling" change. "Up-selling" change means to persuade your employees that making a personal commitment to the change will reap them personal benefits. Similar to up-selling your customers by informing and sharing the value-add to your products or services, you need to demonstrate the value-add of your change initiative. Just like any business problem, you start by making the business case for change. Except in this situation, your employees become your target market. So, you better have a good answer to the "WIIFM" test - What's In It For Me?

Even if you don't know the answer now, don't let that stop you. The best place to start looking for answers to that question is your employees. Go to them and get them involved in your thinking. The act of asking and listening not only engages them, but informs them as well. When people feel partially informed, not part of the &q