Getting buy-in from others at work is a critical component to an individual’s success. Not only that, but buy-in across departmental and hierarchical lines benefits the company because it generates collaboration and drives bottom-line results. No matter if you’re a manager or an employee you can use a variety of strategies to facilitate buy-in. Here are just a few.
-Tailor Your Message: Think about your audience, the person you intend to influence, and consider what’s important to him or her. Consider their goals, point-of-view and organizational pressures they face. How can your idea help them? What value does your idea offer to them? Put yourself in their shoes and ask what they’d think about your idea. Be sure your message not only contains why you see your idea as beneficial but also how it brings value to them.
-Solution Orientation: Make sure your message is solutions-oriented rather than problem-oriented. People want to know how you can make their life better. Rather than focus on what isn’t working, make sure your message is about changes for the better.
-Set the Context: Gather background information that helps contextualize your idea. This might include sales data, menu of products, customer feedback, employee morale or turnover. The point is to identify organizational information that links back to your idea. Next, consider how your idea fits in with organizational priorities, objectives and strategies. This helps you identify how your idea benefits the company as a whole.
-Colleague Feedback: Before taking your idea to the decision makers, it’s useful to run it by a few colleagues. Ask them to critique the idea and your pitch. Not only that, ask if they themselves see the idea as worthwhile. If your colleagues question its worthiness then that’s a sign to go back to the drawing board before going any further. Assuming they like the idea, ask them what else you need to prepare for taking it forward.
-Practice, Practice, Practice: Now you’re ready, but there’s one more important step to take and that’s to practice your message over and over. Taking an idea to a decision maker can be nerve-wracking, so make sure you give yourself the time to practice. This will not only help calm your nerves but will also help bolster your confidence, making you knowledgeable and poised.
Using these simple yet powerful strategies to gain buy-in will help bolster the probability of your idea turning into reality.
Heather Backstrom is an executive coach, leadership development consultant and speaker. She has a doctorate in organizational leadership from Pepperdine University. She can be reached at www.heatherbackstrom.com