Trying to change your competitive positioning? Need to re-brand your firm? Getting your staff on board for the change is a major challenge for professional service firms. NetApp, a major data management firm reported on their 18 month rebranding process in the always helpful Marketing Sherpa newsletter. Their 6-step process is a useful example of how to get buy-in for a major change in a relatively large (7000 employee) company.

But even if your firm is much smaller, there are still valuable lessons to be learned. If any significant strategic changes are going to happen, your staff must be on board. After all, they are the firm.

Based on our experience, here's how to proceed:

  1. Start early, even before you have settled on the new strategy. This helps people be a part of the process.
  2. Share the data as to why change is necessary and what new direction is needed. If you have research, share the key results.
  3. Recruit “champions” from all parts of the organization to help educate and sell the new strategy.
  4. Train, train, train in any new skills that are important to make the strategy work. Do you need project managers to better identify new opportunities? Training helps focus attention and give them skills and confidence.
  5. Persistent follow-through. Make the results, good or bad, visible. Then follow up with adjustments.

While these steps seem fairly basic, the reality is, they work.