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How to Get Buy-In from Your Team, and Keep It

You have a great idea for your business and you’re ready to move forward with it… but do you have buy-in from your team to actually make it happen?

Research has shown that 70% of all organisational change efforts fail, and one reason for this is business owners simply don’t get enough buy-in from their people for their initiatives and ideas.

Engaging the people who will make your ideas happen plays a major role in any change management. People react to change differently and some might need some thorough guidance through to transition. To begin with, you can kick off with a one- or two-minute pitch that can express the following key points about your idea:

  • Here’s what our change initiative is about ...
  • It’s important to do because ...
  • Here’s what success will look like, especially for you ...
  • Here’s what we need from you ...

Communicating the basis of your vision and getting buy-in from your team need not be limited to large group meetings. Rather, different mediums are recommended to communicate the vision and the new changes such as memos, posters and informal one-on-one talks. You can also make use of the various social media tools available today to reach people or utilise a business coach to guide you through your strategy. The 2013 Edelman Trust Barometer shows that because of the current climate of scepticism in organisations, the majority of people need to hear information three to five times before they believe the message. The more times someone reminds you of your idea, the more likely they will be to accept it and buy-in.

One main flaw in the usual process of gaining buy-in is trying to “sell” the idea; You sell the idea to yourself and come up with a defence for all possible objections, then you attempt to sell it to everyone else. The elevator pitch you created can deviate from this usual process by laying out the rough draft of your idea and then inviting discussion and debate from others. Make sure it is clear to each person that each of their individual work is important to the outcome. Allowing others to be involved in discussion and debate about the idea will create greater investment in the outcome. Here, you are offering the option for others to buy-in rather than simply trying to sell your own self-developed idea to them. By truly buying-in, others will be motivated to support your ideas just as much as you do.

Once change has been established, one of the most powerful ways to communicate the new direction is to lead by example. This way, acceptance of the idea will continue to be reinforced. Also, be sure to encourage feedback. Ask how employees feel the changes have affected their work and business in general. Overall, communication is key to gaining and keeping buy-in.

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