How Do I Get Buy In From My Team?

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You've come up with a great, innovative idea! Hooray! But your team's not buying in to it. Boo hiss. So let's answer the question once and for all: "How do I get BUY-IN from my team?"

If you're a video person, I lay it all out in the video below. If reading is more your thing, skip the video and hop straight to the transcript below!

Hey there, Bill Stainton here with Turning Creativity into Money™. Has this ever happened to you? You've, you've got a great idea—an innovative idea—and you share it with your team, and you're all excited about this, and they're just not buying into it.

You know, and you've asked yourself this question, "How can I get my team to buy in to this idea, to this initiative? I know it'll make a difference, I know it's a good idea. How can I get the team to buy in? I'm having trouble getting buy-in."

Has that ever happened to you? Have you ever found yourself in that situation? If so, I have got great news for you. I'm really happy to announce that I have just developed a brand new online program and, it's an online course for exactly that problem. Now it's only 995 dollars, but if you buy it today, you....

Okay, stop. I'm, I'm kidding, I'm kidding. Don't, don't click stop, don't, don't click, you know, don't don't go away. I'm just kidding. I don't have an online program about buy-in.

But, how did you feel when I started telling you that I did? How did you feel when I started pitching you on the program? When I started trying to sell you on the program? It's okay, you can tell me. I can take it. You probably felt, "Oh, this is slimy. Oh, this isn't what I signed up for. Oh, is that what, how he's gonna be? Is that, that's not what I thought this video was going to be about," right?

In short, you felt like you were being sold to, right?

And what was your instinctive reaction? To resist, right? Because we don't like being sold to. And we resist feeling like we're being sold to.

Okay, so now, does it make more sense why your team may resist if you're trying to get buy-in from them? Because think of the word. If you're trying to get buy-in, the implication is that you're trying to sell them something. And as you just, as you just discovered for yourself, because you felt it viscerally, we resist being sold to.

So just like you resisted me trying to sell you on my non-existent course, your team resists being sold on your idea—even if it's a good idea. Because it doesn't go through the logic channels. They just, they feel like they're being sold something, and they resist.

So what's, what do you do instead? Here's my suggestion. When you have an innovative idea—something that you want to get your team on board with—stop trying to get buy-in and start giving ownership.

Start making them feel like they own part of it.

You know, I used to produce a comedy TV show, a sketch comedy TV show, and every Tuesday morning we would have a pitch meeting. Get around the big table and we'd all pitch our ideas. And as the producer, it was my job to decide what was going to get on the show what wasn't going to go on the show.

But, you know how I knew when an idea was really going to take off? When all sudden one of my writers, let's say Nancy, would pitch an idea, and then maybe Bob would say, "Oh, you know what? What if, what if the waiter, uh, was really, really tall, and that made it awkward because...." And then somebody else would say, "Oh, um, you know what if we shoot it with a wide-angle lens and...." The specifics don't matter, but, but do you see what's happening here? It's Nancy's idea but now other team members are starting to take ownership of their little parts of it. And they're, and they're starting to feel like, "Oh, I've got some skin in the game here, this is partly mine also."

We will defend what we build.

So, if you can involve your team in building this idea and adding to it. Say, "Hey, I've got this idea," and you go to the team and say, "How, how can we make it even better?" Instead of, "I've got this idea, this is what we're doing." I, you know, I've got this idea—how can we make it better? And then let them start, "Ooh, well we can do this, we can, oh, that's good, that's good, yes...." And now, do you see the difference between that, that sense of ownership that they have versus buy-in, you're trying to sell them something they're trying to buy in?

Now, look, I know if you work for a larger organization, it may not be feasible to have every team member have ownership, or, you know, be a part of developing everything. Sometimes you get a mandate. You know, from corporate headquarters, they say, "Hey, we're doing this now," and you do have to quote unquote sell it to your team.

Okay, well, how can you get ownership for that?

Well, what you do is you say, "Look, here's the situation. How can we, given, given the scope of our team, how can we help this even more? How can, how can we do what we do in such a way that really supports and aligns with this vision?"

So again, in your, in your world with your team, you can still give them ownership over that part of it, over that part of the bigger idea.

But again, the whole difference, it's a mindset shift between trying to get buy-in and trying to give ownership. Once you, once you start to give ownership, make them feel like you're co-creating this, the team is co-creating this. Because again, we will defend what we build, what we create.

So let them co-create it as much as possible. Let them co-create it, and then they will defend it, rather than fight it. Wouldn't that be a welcome change? That's how you get your innovative ideas through your team. By letting them co-create it.

And that's the difference between getting buy-in and giving ownership.

I'm Bill Stainton. I'll be back next time with more ideas about how you can Turn Creativity into Money™.


About the Author:

29-time Emmy Award winner and Hall of Fame keynote speaker Bill Stainton, CSP is an expert on Innovation, Creativity, and Breakthrough Thinking. He helps leaders and their teams come up with innovative solutions — on demand — to their most challenging problems.
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