Getting Employee Buy-In
business leader I know
lamented to me that his last
efforts to implement strategic
planning failed. “We just didn’t
get any buy-in; neither from our
employees nor from some of our leaders.
It never went anywhere.” He was frustrated
because he’d presumed everyone would
be excited about their plan.
Similar comments have been made to me
frequently by other leaders. Of course,
these companies aren’t alone; the statistics
are that fewer than 20 percent of companies
successfully execute their strategy.
There can be many reasons for failing
to get the buy-in to execute strategy;
however I’d like to focus on one I’ve found
is fundamental but often overlooked or
disputed by senior leaders. That reason
is that your people are too busy with
the day-to-day and they already feel
overwhelmed. They feel there’s no time
for strategic stuff. From my perspective
as a coach, certainly people are very
busy and I’ve heard the “we’ve been too
busy” excuse. However, I’ve found the
problem often is a combination of them
underestimating the time it’ll take and
committing to too many priorities.
I believe you need to acknowledge and
deal with the “very busy” reality before you
can obtain their genuine buy-in so here are
three steps to doing that.
STEP 1: ACCEPT REALITY
Get everyone (you included) to face
reality. Executing strategy is doing the
important tasks whilst also managing the
tidal wave of urgent tasks and deadlines
people face every day. This competition
between urgent and important is what your
people are struggling with and they may
be reluctant to admit it, so they need your
help. Make this OK by telling them you
know they’re busy and your intent is to help
them find and do the most important thing
– their No. 1 priority. Get everyone thinking
in terms of creating the time and capacity
to work on the important in the face of the
urgent. What is consuming time that can
be streamlined? (Poor meetings are a
common source of bloat in companies).
What’s being done that nobody needs?
STEP 2: GET THEIR INPUT
Encourage them (or force them if
necessary) to participate in c