In organization change I always avoid any effort that includes the term: buy-in. You may hear the term in some variation of the following: “now we need to get (insert stakeholder here) to buy-in“.
I have never been comfortable asking anyone to buy-in to a strategic plan, a new product launch, or an organization change.
Buy-in sounds too much like slippery salesman’s jargon. I don’t need the person or the team or the organization to buy-in and because then there is a risk they may feel something bogus was sold to them. I don’t need surprises or revised sales job to get move my message.
Don’t ask people to buy-in to something.
Instead invite them in to what is happening.
Communicate with them.
Draw them in.
Share with all those impacted difficulty ahead you see ahead. Ask them for their view. Ask them how they see their role.
I prefer a stakeholder who understands their role in the change, they are the ones who provide commitment and motivation. Seek dedication, not buy-in.
It is far easier to invite someone in, then to sell them something they may have no desire to buy. It takes far less effort to communicate from the start than to keep information and risk the entire change from a passive or active revolt.
Some people may never buy-in, that’s OK. Change is not a linear progression, it has fits and starts.
Stop trying to sell something and you no longer have to worry about how much of your “product” is being bought.
Help people understand and commit that you are responsible to keep them motivated with timely, transparent communication. You need your stakeholders to succeed. These are the people who rally others, who positively infect hope in people who are on the fence or that are unsure.
These motivated, committed stakeholders energize the rest and in a scale of effort no corporate, executive-driven, buy-in program could ever accomplish without.
In today’s world change is constant, try to treat your stakeholders as motivated, interested colleagues, not some high-interest, finance customer.
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