When it Comes to Implementing Change, Buy-in is Key

Last week I suggested some things that you as a leader should take into consideration when implementing change. What all leaders need when it comes to implementing change, is buy-in from the people affected. Once you have buy-in you know the change will be implemented, and you will have the support of those who will be affected by the change.

The challenge is how do you go about getting the buy-in of those who will help implement the change and those whose life will be affected by the change?

A mistake most leaders make is first to try to convince their followers of the benefits of the change and why the change is necessary. That seems to be what we are told over and over again as leaders. It is in the presentation, tug at their hearts, make an emotional appeal, etc. The problem with this approach is that the buy-in lasts only as long as the emotions that led to the buy-in in the first place.

You may feel good after the presentation and think you’ve got the go ahead and support you need. Only to realize later that the enthusiasm has died and support has dwindled.

Buy-in for implementing change starts with buy-in for the leader. Whether the change is big or small, if the people do not have buy-in for the leader, they will not buy into implementing any change.

This is one of the reasons a successful leader at one organization is unable to produce the same level of success when they change organizations. They come in trusting in their past successes and reputation, and thinking they can get the same results. What they fail to realize is, in the new organization there is little or no buy-in for them.

John Maxwell in his book, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, makes the following observation, “The leader finds the dream and then the people. The people find the leader, and then the dream.” Implementing change starts with the people having buy-in for the leader.

If you don’t do the work of building relationships, getting to know your people and letting them get to know you, you will have a difficult time implementing change. Your reputation alone will not give you the buy-in you need to implement change. Your character is important as well. And character is experienced and learned close up.

“Once people have bought into someone, they are willing to give his vision a chance. People want to go along with people they get along with.” John Maxwell. There is a caution here we cannot ignore. We have seen this happen time and time again where leaders get their followers buy-in, and then they take advantage of it. They abuse the trust placed in them by their followers.

Buy-in is essential for implementing change, buy-in of you and buy-in of your vision for change. You may have struggled with implementing change in the past because you did not take the time to let your followers buy into you. You can still implement the change if you would start with helping the people buy into you. Take the time to know them and let them get to know you, and you will get the buy-in you need to implement the changes you believe your people need.

If you would like help in achieving your goals as a leader or in any area of your life, call us at 208-880-0307 or email us at errol@errolcarrim.com to schedule a complimentary coaching session. To read Errol’s other posts, visit Christ-Centered Life Coaching.