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5 Tips For Securing Buy-In From The Boss And Beyond

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Buy-in is a crucial part of any company’s success. Securing buy-in can help provide support for any future projects, proposals, or improvements within your company. It can also lead to increased operational excellence, understanding, and trust across all levels of your organization. 

Getting buy-in is not, and should not, be limited to investors or outside parties. In fact, building employee buy-in can improve relationships between leadership and workers, as well as help increase employee engagement and commitment to the company.

But how do you work on improving buy-in on all fronts? What strategies can help build up buy-in from employees and stakeholders?

Whatever strategies you have in mind and whatever improvements you want to make have to fall in line with your organization’s vision for the future. Good ideas that do not contribute to the progress of the company, or its overall goals, can quickly become roadblocks rather than stepping stones.

Let’s dive into what makes efficient buy-in strategies work, and what processes your company can take to ensure greater buy-in success. Here are five tips for getting the buy-in you need from decision-makers and colleagues at your organization.

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1. Deliver your buy-in pitch with your target audience in mind

When you’re trying to get buy-in, whether from employees, the boss, outside investors, or other stakeholders, it’s crucial to lay out every part of your strategic plan in a way that’s engaging and easy to understand. 

You can’t just copy and paste your message for different audiences. As Harvard Business Review recommends, sellers need to “familiarize themselves with their audience’s unique blend of goals, values, and knowledge” in order to best cater their message to their target audience. 

But, honesty and authenticity are key. With each catered message, you need to be sure you are still being honest. John T. Malone, president and CEO of Hamot Health, believes that the best way to initiate organizational change is for leaders to commit wholeheartedly to open, honest, and complete disclosure

Convincing employees to get on board with an idea is a different ball game than convincing the boss or other higher-ups, for example, especially since senior executives are more likely to dismiss ideas from below. Tapping into employee feelings and emotions to get them involved in new strategies or big-picture decisions can spark genuine discussions on what the existing problems are, and help you gather insight from those involved on what can be done to fix it.

2. Ensure the ideas align with the company’s vision

It’s essential that your audience understands what the problem you are trying to correct is (you can’t assume they are aware of it), as well as why change is critical. Contextualizing the problem you’re trying to solve within the framework of your company’s overall goals helps your audience see how your idea fits into the bigger picture of long-term success.

It can also help to “chunk,” or break down the information you’re presenting into manageable, bite-sized pieces. This can make the project seem less like a colossal undertaking that might cost a lot of money, time, and manpower and more like a realistic, achievable, step-by-step undertaking.

Why is this issue important? Why is change required? What will it affect within the organization, and why does it matter? These are all questions you have to successfully answer on your own before you can present them to anyone else.

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3. Solicit feedback with peers and employees first

When trying to encourage buy-in, remember to remain open to others’ voices, ideas, and opinions on your project. Listening can be just as important as speaking, and understanding employee and leader positions can give you a better perspective on how the changes you’re proposing could affect others within your organization.

As you are soliciting feedback, you should really be meeting with employees before you move up to leadership. If employees feel confident about your idea and support it, leadership is more likely to lend an ear.

And even if you do get buy-in from upper management and leadership, employees are the ones whose daily lives will be most affected. People want to understand, trust, and maintain a positive relationship with their leaders. These relationships do not happen overnight, nor do they appear without plenty of hard work from higher-ups.

In order to truly build lasting trust with employees, leaders must view employees as peers, rather than just subordinates on payroll, by conducting workplace interactions with integrity, honesty, and competence.

This is why acknowledging contributions and soliciting feedback on individual employee goals and objectives is so empowering. By ensuring employees feel seen and heard by their leaders, you’re giving them the confidence they need to improve and move forward in their careers. 

Whenever employees are shown just how vital their roles are to their organization—when they can see how their work has a visible and valued impact on the company—they are far more likely to commit to and engage with a new plan or strategic undertaking.

4. Identify potential buy-in objections

Never go in unprepared when trying to get buy-in for a big plan or project. By identifying potential objections ahead of time, you can better respond to hard-hitting questions and concerns if and when they arise in your make-or-break meeting. 

If there are key individuals you anticipate could object to your plans, such as a VP or CXO, consider their pain points and drivers, then prepare solid counter arguments to defend your position. 

That’s why having “pre-meetings” in which you can share thoughts with your colleagues and pitch them your idea can be so helpful. This allows you to get invaluable feedback and constructive criticism, which prevents your idea from falling flat at a crucial meeting with leadership.

When you show up prepared, you are much more likely to convince decision-makers that your plan is well-researched, well-thought out, and likely to succeed.

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5. Set and track measurable goals

Finally, it’s important to set expectations early on by establishing smart financial goals that demonstrate your plan’s practicality. 

By setting measurable goals for both the long and short term and keeping track of your progress, you’re much more likely to get the buy-in you want. And once the results start rolling in, you can report back to your team with hard evidence that supports their buy-in decision.