Early in my career as an emerging leader, I was responsible for leading an organization which was essentially a small business.
Like most small businesses, my responsibilities included human resources, payroll, budget, operations, and logistics. In addition, coordinating food service, transportation, and maintenance were included.
The primary function of our organization was to transition civilians into soldiers. My staff consisted of twelve drill sergeants, one senior drill sergeant, a supply non-commission officer, an administrative clerk, and a first sergeant. My second in command was a 2nd Lieutenant, who served as my executive officer.
Prior to assuming command of the organization, I had a onboarding meeting with my new boss. During our meeting, we reviewed the organization’s performance. While the organization was high performing in several areas, there were specifics opportunities for improvement.
Based on the data, my boss asked how would I improve the organization’s performance. For the next hour, I shared my vision for the organization and the plan I had developed to maximize our strengths and address the areas of concern.
When I finished, my boss congratulated me on developing a comprehensive plan. He then asked a question I wasn’t prepared to answer. So, what was the question? He asked. “how did I planned to get the members of my team to buy-in to my vision.”
My first response was typical of a young leader. I told him I will give them orders and they will follow them. He sat back in his chair and smiled at me. He then asked what would I do when they didn’t follow my orders? I told him. “they’re soldiers, of course they will follow orders.”
After he stopped laughing, he explained the importance of creating a shared vision. As I prepared to leave his office, he charged me with developing a plan get buy-in from my team members. He told me if I wanted to be successful, I needed to get others to share and champion my vision.
That day, I learned a very important lesson from my boss. Creating buy-in is critical to achieving organizational goals.
In his article “6 Ways to Help Your Employees Execute Your Vision and Strategy” David Lee outlines the following:
- Create and explain the why
- Anticipate and overcome objections
- Tell a compelling “future story” to sell
- Address the “WII-FM” (What’s In It For Me?)
- Be honest
- Connect human-to-human
To get others to buy-in to your vision, leave open space in your painting for others to insert themselves.
Do you help others buy-in to your vision?
Dr. Kim Moore, your leadership guide!
Dr. Kim Moore
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