Buy-In – The Imperative Strategy

In providing research and developing training programs for various large corporations about managing change, we find that the biggest stumbling block for employees from top-down is lack of buy-in. Top executives have the vision, but often fail to get buy-in from managers who have to carry out the change initiative. This lack of buy-in trickles down and pretty soon everyone is at odds with the change because not having been in the initial ideation sessions, they don’t see any value. Great change initiatives have died on the vine because ‘THEY are just giving us more needless things to do.’

This idea is supported by Harvard Business School Professor John Kotter, authority on leadership and change, who finds that in order to succeed, 75% of the company’s management, needs to ‘buy into’ the change.

Busy managers, who are already overwhelmed with previous change initiatives, tend to panic and jump in too fast with new systems; they act without proper preparation and neglect to get input from their team which leads to a very bumpy ride. Systems fail to reach their full potential and people become frustrated, which results in pushback, absenteeism, and low productivity. In his book entitled Influence by Robert Cialdini he explains that one of the most influential words in the English language is ‘because’. Studies have proven that no word has more power to motivate people to take action than ‘because’. Simply adding this word to a request, to a statement, to a call to action, the numbers of people who respond go up exponentially. In other words, people need a reason to give their buy-in otherwise they won’t do it, drag their heels or do it very badly.

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About the Authors

Sarah Gee is co-author of Business Improv, and as senior faculty member for The Second City Business Communications has informed, challenged, inspired and entertained audiences for Fortune 1000 companies across the globe. As facilitator, consultant, and coach she shapes and builds corporate competencies for major corporations such as General Motors, MB Financial, and United Airlines. Sarah also helps develop future leaders with Business Management training programs for executive MBA students at the University of California, Anderson School of Management, Duke University Fuqua School of Business and Columbia College. Contact Sarah: [email protected].

Val Gee is author of several books published by McGraw-Hill including: Business Improv, The Winner’s Attitude and Super Service. Since arriving in America from England in 1983, Val has designed, developed and delivered training solutions for business professionals worldwide including: Motorola, Hyatt Hotels, Siemens, DeVry University, GE Healthcare and HSBC. Bringing the power of her capability to focus on thought leadership, change management, and generating creativity, Val is currently facilitating several workshops around the U.S., for employees of a large government agency. Contact Val: [email protected],

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