How Do You Get Buy-In?

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This topic contains 4 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Mark Hammer 4 years, 1 month ago.

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  • #181589

    Steve Ressler

    Last week during our online training “Data in Action: How Leading Governments Measure Performance” (archive here), we had an interesting question come up that I hear quite often.

    The question:

    “I’m sold on this new innovative approach….BUT

    How Do I Get Buy-In from Others in My Agency on This New Approach?”

    It’s a common issue – you see a great way to improve your agency but how do you get others on-board.

    Name your 1 favorite tip below.

    photo credit: @Doug88888 via photopin cc

  • #181597

    Mark Hammer

    The secret to sales, of any kind, is to convince the customer that what you want to sell them is precisely what they’ve been wanting all along. And the secret to that is to know the customer well enough to identify what it is they want. If you’re really lucky, you’ll know that in advance. But if you don’t know it in advance, you can ask questions to help identify the customer’s wants and needs.

    Myself, I find that when some organizational change comes along that makes me grumble and resist, it is inevitably something that some genius somewhere came up with without ever consulting myself or my colleagues about what we need to do our jobs better. There’s “no sale” because it is not at all clear that the product addresses, even in a symbolic way, something we’ve been wanting or needing. It comes out of thin air, without preamble or preparation. As such, it’s near impossible to connect to what we’ve been doing all along, the mission we were handed, and the means we use to know if we’re doing a good job at our job.

    Viewed from another very different angle, when one examines the child development literature on how they learn to behave in more socially acceptable ways and accept those social rules handed them by others with more power, the critical factor is the extent to which they “internalize” those rules, and treat them as if the rules are precisely the ones they would have made up themselves if left to their own devices. And part of the way you do that is to refer to the child’s own goals and priorities when conveying the rules.

    So, whether getting your child to wash their hands, getting a customer to buy something, or getting buy-in on an organizational initiative or change from stakeholders, it’s all pretty much the same thing: find out what they value/need, identify the links between that and what you’re offering them, convey those links. All of that still needs to be done in as authentic a manner as possible.

  • #181595

    Terrence Hill

    Find the most reputable, expensive management consulting firm and hire them to tell management what they could have learned by merely asking their employees.

    Or you might have more luck if you pilot a program on a small scale to prove its value. In our case, start with one willing component and use them as a model for others.

  • #181593

    Don Jacobson

    If the question is directed at a supervisor who needs to get his/her team on board with the change, the short answer is “Ask them how they would make it work.” People love to feel that their ideas are valued, and it they have contributed ideas to help implement a new initiative, they will be excited about–instead of resistant to–the change.

    If the question is directed at a change agent who is trying to get his/her organization to adopt a new practice that has worked well in other organizations, I would suggest dusting off my old blog post Tips for Change Agents.

  • #181591

    Terrence Hill

    A great little process for innovation is included in the publication “Innovation in Government” by the Partnership for Public Service and IDEO (see below). It provides a roadmap for innovation.

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