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Gaining “Buy In”

It’s the start of the football season and if you follow it you’ve heard ongoing discussions about coaches beginning their first season with a new team. It seems that one of the most significant indicators of a new coach’s success is the “buy in” the players have in the new coach’s system.

It’s the same with every organization that wants to fulfill its mission, to be effective or just plain wants to win, leaders must move their team from a posture of compliance to one of commitment. Great teams need people willing to sacrifice and passionately pursue its plans, priorities and direction.

The question is – how does a leader gain “buy in” and have committed staff, not just compliant staff? The answer’s too long for one short blog post but here are a few essentials that I’ve discovered over the years.

First, you need people who want to be committed to something bigger than themselves. People who just want a job will never move to “buy in” but will always just go through the motions to keep their job.

Second, when you have these kinds of people on your team you need to treat them as thoughtful, committed adults, as partners in your organization’s work. People willing to commit to something bigger than themselves expect nothing less.

Finally, your organization needs to be about something worthy of a person’s commitment and passion. Its mission, values, vision and its impact in the world needs to be great enough for employees, investors and other constituents to be willing to sacrifice to see the organization succeed.

So you see buy in isn’t just about great coaches, it is about the right players and effective leadership, all working together for a cause the entire team believes in.

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