How often do we blame failed projects on ill-considered or ineffective solutions? Despite months of preparation, research and data-analysis suggesting that this is the right course of action, the results are not what you expected. Heading back to the drawing board is often a knee-jerk reaction.

However, the quality of the solution is not the only variable in its success. All too often we forget that we work in organisations with people. People who don’t like change. People who don’t want to use this solution. And people who are happy to continue as they are, thank you very much.

Increasing influence

The acceptance of a solution within the organisation is vital if it is to succeed. It doesn’t matter whether your solution makes their job easier, increases productivity and cuts waste – if you don’t have their buy-in from the start, it won’t work as it should. Change management, therefore, is the Belt’s secret weapon.

Whilst a strong knowledge of the DMAIC problem solving approach is essential, it can only get you so far. Holistic change is pushed through by good communicators – those who can obtain the buy-in of key influencers. It is achieved by people who can calm the seas of discontent and quiet dissent.

More and more, businesses understand how greater training in these softer skills makes for more successful change management. Those driving new solutions need to have the support of executive sponsors, but also need to cultivate good management and communication skills themselves. Fear of the unknown is the biggest factor leading to an aversion to change. Remove that by introducing clarity, and often acceptance is not far behind.

Pushing the benefits

Mike Titchen, Head of Training Development, explained that the soft skills belts are taught as part of their Lean Six Sigma training helps them “to dance around and overcome the politics of the whole thing”, to achieve the buy-in of key business influencers.

One of the three Ds (Data, Demonstrate, Demand) that belts are taught during their LSS training encapsulates this softly, softly approach. Mike suggests that if the data alone is not enough to convince people, demonstrating how they can benefit from the change is often all it takes is for them to better understand the solution and how it applies to them, and this helps to get them on board.

What are your top tips to increase acceptance during business change?