By Karen Axelton

Getting employees to go along with change is always a challenge, but these days, it’s more and more a requirement of doing business.

As somewhat of a “change resister” myself (now that I’m an entrepreneur, I’m having to let go of that, but it’s hard), I could relate to the advice in this Inc. interview with John Kotter, whose new book, Buy-In, is all about leading change.

According to Kotter’s statistics, 70 percent of change efforts either fail–or never get off the ground at all. Just 5 percent of leaders are highly effective at leading change. How can you be one of them?

I won’t share all Kotter’s advice here, but the suggestion that resonated most with me was: Invite criticism of your ideas. Getting employees to “throw rocks at you” is key to winning them over, Kotter contends.

While at first this sounds crazy, in reality, it makes a lot of sense. After all, if you’ve ever been an employee asked to change on a dime, you know one of the biggest causes of employee grumbling and group disgruntlement is simply not feeling heard.

Employees may act like they’re on board with change in the big meeting where it’s announced, but as soon as the meeting is over, the griping and groaning starts. Kotter’s suggestion to have that griping and groaning center stage is a wise one. By pointing out all the problems with change as a group, employees get to vent their concerns, get it out of their systems–and hopefully move on to come up with a plan that everyone can really support, instead of just pretending like they do.

Image by Flickr user Elsie Esq.