Getting Buy-In: Part One
Getting buy-in is about people collaboratively engaging to explore challenges, find solutions, and act to bring about change. Solutions might be known in advance but are often “discovered” through dialogue. When you want to suggest a solution, rather than have your audience do so, then the process of getting buy-in shifts away from dialoguing and more toward encouraging, influencing, motivating, and persuading others to agree (buy-in) to your suggested solution. Here, you often get push back. It’s not “their” idea.
On the other hand, in the case where the “solution” is not definitively known and you want to maximize people “owning” the solution, which is the vast majority of cases, then the process shifts toward mutual exploration, dialoguing, and creation of solutions.
It is in this spirit of collaboration and service of the mutual interests of people that this paper focuses. The goal of getting buy-in is to arrive at a mutually agreed to and supported solution that has the mutual commitment of two parties to implement the agreed upon solution.
People Either Agree (buy-in) to Ideas or Requests or They Don’t
The best way to accomplish buy-in is with a serving attitude–an attitude that demonstrates and communicates to the other person that you care about them and are attempting to serve their needs, desires, and wants. When you focus on them, rather than yourself, and what you want and need, you demonstrate and communicate a serving attitude.
The biggest problem people have with “getting buy-in” is that they feel they are manipulating another person so that the other person is not served. Instead, remember that you get buy-in when you are honest, professional, and show honor and integrity in the process of gaining mutual agreement for action so that both parties are served to their individual benefit and satisfaction. This is partnering, collaborating, and teaming.
Once “getting buy-in” is accepted as an indispensable people skill, critical to all human communication and cooperation and production, then people can begin to master the “process.” Ultimately, it’s how you win friends and influence people.
Part Two will address the four-step process of getting buy-in.