One of the biggest challenges to creating buy-in for the solution to a problem starts with creating the environment for understanding and ultimately ownership of the problem. This means we have to help employees feel that they are technically competent to deal with the problem but also committed and motivated to deal with it. This is why more leaders need to read or routinely review the following book: Lencioni, Patrick. The Three Signs of a Miserable Job: A Fable for Managers (and their employees), Jossey-Bass 2007. This is a great resource for building the right environment for ownership.
Second, John P. Kotter and Lorne A. Whitehead in their book, Buy-In: Saving Your Good Idea From Getting Shot Down, Harvard Business Review Press, 2010, write that the elements that work together to achieve buy-in happen when we capture peoples’ attention, and then “with people paying attention, winning over the minds and their hearts.” From my experience and observations, people only do this when they feel safe and cared for by their managers and supervisors.
Finally, while this may seem immensely simplistic, the best leaders at helping people buy-in to a solution show how the solution and it’s related new behaviors and practices will lead to improved results. While this may not be a latest and greatest, hot-off-the-press, best-seller, new idea, it is nevertheless a practical one. When people see improved results, they support and advocate for the solution to continue.
This week, keep building the right environment for ownership, and keep helping people to see improved results. It will make a world of difference for all involved.