Buy-in is a team sport

by Gerald Leonard

“People buy into the leader before they buy into the vision.” John C. Maxwell. A key to creating buy-in is to understand human nature. The leader should start with themselves first and then learn the personality of their teammates and followers. 

According to Punit Renjen the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index states that “52 percent of the U.S. workforce characterized themselves as not engaged during the first half of 2012. An additional 18 percent were actively disengaged. Gallup estimates the cost of this divide at $300 billion annually” (Renjen, 2012).

The leader must take time out of their busy schedule and spend time listening and connecting with their people. They must learn to generate hope within their people by including them in the process and co-creating their organization’s strategy, goals, and objectives. People buy in to what they create.

No one wins a Super Bowl, a Stanley Cup, a Basketball Championship or delivers a   symphony performance as an individual. It’s always done as a team, where everyone is connected and working closely together. It’s like their heartbeats have become synchronized as one. If someone has a great talent on the team, everyone else supports them because they’re going to help the team achieve their goals. Think Tom Brady and the New England Patriots winning 5 Super Bowls.

Your stakeholders want to buy-In 

Mario Henrique Trentim a Project Management Evangelist, says “In partnerships, you must build win-win agreements. If stakeholders are forced to agree on something, they will not feel comfortable, and your project will run into difficulties in the future. Teaching, influencing, and persuading help to mitigate this risk. Allow stakeholders to question and even bargain before accepting the responsibility.”

Without a win-win agreement, you will never achieve buy-in; anything else is manipulation. Whether you’re working with stakeholders, employees or a global temporary workforce obtaining buy-in is critical to the success of any endeavor. As stated above, no championship team has ever won the big game without everyone on the team having bought into the vision of going all the way.

No one wants to be told what to do, they want to be a part of the process. When a team is engaged and is helping to develop the policies, processes, and procedures in which they are required to work in they will be much more engaged and bought into the process. 

People buy into what they create. Are you allowing your team to help build processes in which they will be held accountable? 

When the plan is fully developed, then everyone on the team is responsible for executing the plan. Without everyone feeling and knowing that they are part of the process, you’ll run into pockets of resistance that will hinder your progress and sabotage the work you are trying to accomplish.

People love to be taught, influenced, and persuaded but they hate to be sold or manipulated into fulfilling your agenda. If a project team knows that their input is valued, is listened to, and counts, they will give their heart and soul to the team and leave nothing on the field to accomplish the goal.

Your team will honestly be answering questions, be open to objections, create trust and buy in the vision. When your team knows that you are open to their input, criticisms, and suggestions they will provide you with their best thinking to solve your most critical problems. Think Toyota! I love their cars, sorry, this isn’t a commercial, I really love my Toyotas.  

So, let’s get personal, are you truly creating buy-in within your company, organization, project team, or agency? 

Does your team truly believe that you value their input? Have you created brand loyal ambassadors with your customers and clients because they know that you will always conduct a diagnosis of their problems or challenges first before prescribing a solution to accomplish their desired goals and objectives? 

Buy-in is a team sport and without your team, you’re standing alone facing the competition who is well prepared to win the game. Are you creating teams that buy in and win or are you encouraging individuals to shine without the team?


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