Sunday, June 11, 2023

The Myth of "Buy-In"

When it comes to leading change, many of us, at some point, have been made to think that we have to get others to buy into a certain strategy, initiative, or idea.  Is this really the right way to proceed? I've never been a fan of the term "buy-in" when it comes to change. It's a phrase that implies that we need to convince people to change rather than inspiring them to actually want to change. In my experience, inspiration is much more powerful than persuasion.

When we try to "sell" people on change, we're often met with resistance. People may be skeptical of the change, or they may not see the value in it. And even if we do manage to get them to "buy-in," their commitment is likely to be superficial. They're not going to be truly invested in the change, and they're not going to go the extra mile to make it happen.

So what's the alternative to "buy-in"? I believe it's embracement, something I elaborated on in Digital Leadership. When people embrace change, they're not just willing to change; they're excited about it. They see the value in the change, and they're committed to making it happen.

So how do we create embracement? Here are a few tips:

  • Start with a clear vision. People need to understand why the change is necessary, and they need to see a clear vision of what the future will look like after the change is implemented.
  • Get people involved in the planning process. When people feel like they have a say in the change, they're more likely to embrace it.
  • Empower people to take action. Don't just tell people what to do. Give them the resources and support they need to make the change happen.
  • Celebrate successes along the way. When people see progress, they're more likely to stay motivated.

Creating embracement takes time and effort, but it's worth it. When people embrace change, they're more likely to be successful. They're also more likely to be happy and engaged in their work. So next time you're faced with a change, don't focus on "buy-in." Focus on creating embracement. It's the key to successful change.

1 comment:

  1. I recently implemented a new curriculum platform at my district and used the embrace approach. I can not believe how well it went. The change led to a lot of tedious work for all the curriculum writers that participated but once they saw the benefits they all enjoyed what they were doing because they had a clear goal, proper resources and our support. Their products surpassed most of our expectations and many continued to work on the project even after the contract ended because they wanted to see it through. I completely agree that having your team embrace the change is much more beneficial than "buy in" because "buy in" is complacency, whereas embracing is communal growth.