Tuesday, January 19, 2010

How To Gain Buy-In 101

"Get buy-in before you start on that project." You hear that all the time. But how do you do it and how do you know when and if you've got it? What follows is getting buy in 101.

There are only two things that motivate people: (1) something they will gain, such as respect, knowledge, prestige, a promotion and material gains; or (2) something they'll lose, such as respect, power, money and security. Understanding this is fundamental in preparing your buy-in strategy. People also want to know that if they buy what your selling, i.e. a new platform, training initiative, or strategy they'll be recognized for helping it to be perceived as successful. (That's the respect and security elements.)

Of course, there's more to it than that. Below is a partial list of things to consider for getting buy in from others:
  • Determine what management values
  • Understand what motivates them
  • Lear how they make decisions
  • Propose your ideas and projects in terms they can understand: not tech terms
  • Learn to think like they do
  • Show them what's in it for them
  • Let them know that they helped to develop the idea
  • Know your facts and figures: be the subject matter expert
  • Show them tangible results from competitors who took a similar actions
  • Make them a mentor
  • Break it down into palatable chucks
Lastly, keep in mind that their reputation is always on the line. Help your leaders and managers to be a better than they are. Coach them without them knowing it. That's part of your job.

You'll know when you have "buy in" when you hear, "Good, now run with it."
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