Tag Archives: buy-in

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Interesting Story

Interesting Story, Now I Get It

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People have told stories for thousands of years. Is story telling the way we learn, grow, and become more successful? Do you have an interesting story?

Story Value

Go to any museum and you may wonder about the story. The artifacts are there, they are clearly visible and on display. We can often read a short version of history on a plaque or push a button to get an audio version. This helps us connect, but we still don’t always know the story.

If we are shopping for a used car, we may want to know the story. When we go to a new small town, or a mom and pop restaurant we may wonder, “What is the story here?”

Better yet, watch an episode of American Pickers or Pawn Stars. When they buy something, they want to know the story. Often you’ll hear the stars of these shows ask about the story and declare a perceived value based mostly on, you guessed it, the story.

Interesting Story

In the workplace, our connection with purpose, why we do what we do, is meaningless without the story.

When we are in training seminars or workshops the value of the training is increased with the story.

You’ve likely heard of death by PowerPoint. You’ve witnessed the endless slide decks that could simply be displayed while the participants watch and read. There is not really a need for the so-called, presenter.

When you want buy-in for your change. When you want your employee teams to learn more, be more, and connect more, you may want to consider the story. Most employable people can talk about or read a slide deck.

When you attend the meeting, go to a seminar, or take a seat in the grand ballroom at the conference the question you really want to know the answer to is, “Do you have an interesting story?”

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

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driving decisions

Driving Decisions Through Culture In Your Organization

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Sometimes it is all that people want. They just want a decision. Do you suspect you know the answer before the final word is delivered? What is driving decisions in your organization?

Impatience is often a problem when people believe they know the correct path. The opposite side of impatience may be analysis. What does the data tell us? What evidence exists?

Decisions and Organizational Flow

While it may seem surprising to some, the organizational culture may be responsible for driving decisions. In larger organizations, a lack of understanding about subcultures may be one of the reasons for resistance or change failure.

Most people want to support the decision, the better your culture the more likelihood of decision support. This is simple, when you have a highly engaged workforce. Many will be easily able to follow the path. They’ll believe in it, and they’ll follow it.

Therefore, the first step that is often cited as getting buy-in, is important. Buy-in can be created in many ways, but at the root of buy-in is culture.

Culture is Powerful

Consider that when the culture is committed to customer service, making changes that will positively impact the customer feel easy. A culture that is commitment to technology use, well, they’ll embrace being the front runners for the latest gadgets.

In somewhat of a contrast, cultures that are committed to the highest quality in their product, much to the surprise of some, often struggle the most with change.

Do you know why? The answer is easy, their workforce is attached emotionally to what they feel is a perfected product. Change may tarnish perfection.

Driving Decisions

Your organization has a culture. Decisions that drive future direction are guided by beliefs. Buy-in for change will be closely attached what employees feel.

As a result, often the roadblocks for change are unknowingly created by the very culture an organization works so hard to create.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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Can Your Organization Change?

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Organizations often express a strong desire for change, but what that really means is that they want others to change. Can your organization and its people transform?

organization change appreciative inquiry

A friend invites another friend to join the exercise program.

A doctor tells a patient to take the medicine.

A business owner expresses that the team should gain additional skills.

No desire, no change. No action, no change. No new habits, a new tradition, or development of a new cultural method, and nothing changes.

External forces can drive change. Economic conditions, government regulations, and technological advances are all great examples.

Internal forces typically only create lasting change when it is required by external forces or it is desirable internally. Then those actions or behaviors become a habit, a tradition, or a method of operation that employee teams might suggest as, “The way things are done.”

So for organizational transformation the development of skills only represents part of the challenge. The other part might exist somewhere in the creation of desire.

If you want to create the desire that will transform your organization and its people here are a few things to consider.

  • Connect ideas to outcomes. Talking about change doesn’t always illustrate it. Connecting the dots for everyone and having a clear picture of the outcomes and associated benefits will help create the desire to endure the requirements for change.
  • Create paths for growth. People are part of the system. The system will need the opportunity for individual growth. You might know what’s in it for the organization, but what’s in it for the individual people? Prove it.
  • Reward performance not compliance. Teams can become stale, stalled, and stuck. Often this develops because the reinforcement is for following the rules not for executing with high performance. When you make the focus on performance you’ll get more.

Scaring people into change might work, but it is never recommended. Fear can have a significant impact on performance, but motivation through fear typically creates an “us against them” culture. That’s not inspirational or desirable and some might even suggest that it is bullying.

Organizations and the people within its systems can invite, tell, or express a desire for change, but it’s only going to happen when the individuals who are part of those systems develop both the skills and the desire, and then continue to replicate them across time. The most success will occur when everyone is bought-in.

Many organizations talk about change.

Your organization can change, but will it?

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a four-time author and some of his work includes, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce and Pivot and Accelerate, The Next Move Is Yours! Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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Does Agreement Create Buy-in?

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If everyone agrees with the change effort are they also bought in?

business people group on meeting at modern bright office

Groups and organizations processing through a significant change are nearly as unique as a finger print. As organizations commit to pivoting to new or different technology, changing policy or procedures, or even a significant cultural shift they are definitely not a one size (or shape) fits all.

Groups of people and an organizational culture is something that is developed over time. It is based on collections of values and belief systems, and is closely connected with habits, traditions, and common outcomes.

If your team agrees on a significant change happening in your workplace, are they also bought in? Some might quickly say yes, but hold on for a minute, is agreement the same as buy-in?

Establishing Agreement

If your team or workplace is struggling with a problem it might be easy to build agreement that a change is necessary. In fact, many people will often feel that a change is overdue.

Whether they like change, or they do not, they might believe that it is the best or only course of action, and just because change is required it doesn’t mean that everyone will like it but they still may feel it is necessary.

Creating Buy-in

Creating buy-in is almost always more challenging than obtaining agreement. There are many things to consider when trying to create or improve buy-in for a particular change.

Buy-in is typically not something that you can snap your fingers and it is finished. You can’t just hold a team meeting, a staff meeting, or an all-company meeting and expect to achieve it.

Too often supervisors, managers, or even the CEO become convinced that people are bought-in for a change effort when in fact, they’ve only reached agreement that a change is required.

Get Both

Some believe it is a two-step process. First, you have to establish agreement that a change is necessary, and second you have to build or create the buy-in for a prescribed change.

Agreement on a change may lead to buy-in but never confuse the idea of agreement with meaning that people are also bought-in.

If you’re going to have a successful transition and truly achieve change, you should be sure to get both.

– DEG

See also: Did You Create Buy-in? and 5 Tips to Create Buy-in for Change.

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a four-time author and some of his work includes, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce and Pivot and Accelerate, The Next Move Is Yours! Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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Are You Hungry For Change?

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Recently I was driving to a local sandwich shop contemplating what I would order. While driving I was asking myself, “A half or a whole sub, how hungry am I?”

050698495-teamwork

I’m one of those breakfast, lunch, and dinner people who eat at very close to the same time every day. I insist on it, I need it. On this day I was about an hour past my desired lunch break and I felt very hungry. I ordered a whole sub, and loved every bite.

Through my business I’m often asked to address specific change related issues through a speaking or training event, or sometimes I’m hired to coach people who are struggling with performance or having difficulty with change. In perhaps all of these cases, I ask myself, “Are they really hungry?” Change isn’t easy, and no one said it has to be, but it is much easier when the organization or individual team members are hungry (metaphorically) for change.

Creating Hunger

Sometimes client expectations require me to rally the employees, get them fired up, and get them all moving in the same direction, or in other scenarios they may want me to help the internal team members who are responsible for change learn how to create buy-in. Typically there are a few key points I use to create greater engagement and buy-in, making them a little bit hungrier for change.

  1. Openly discuss the problem. While the team cannot continuously agonize over the problem or dwell on the forces that are now applying pressure, it is often more effective to start by selling the problem first, then the solution. Teams that agree on the general characteristics of the problem are much more excited about moving forward with a solution.
  2. Agree on internal and external factors. Change often has more than one factor applying pressure to employee teams or organizations. There are often external factors such as technology, the economy, or changing government regulations and at the same time there can be internal factors such as leadership and vision, workforce preparedness, and even past performance failures. Openly recognizing and communicating on how these factors will be addressed adds comfort and builds trust.
  3. Value and respect time. Change often requires trust, and change like trust takes time. Unfortunately not every employee will buy-in as quickly or easily when compared with others, and once buy-in has occurred not every employee will transition at the same pace. Sometimes a little patience in the early stages helps shorten the length of time required to successfully complete the transition.

Other approaches might work and in some cases additional effort will be required. A downsizing effort is much different from an expansion, economic recession may call for different tactics when compared with growth, and a new process or procedure will typically take individuals out of their comfort zones and will require time to move from discomfort back to comfort. Even workforce generations can be a special consideration for keeping people hungry throughout the transition.

Remember that change isn’t always easy, but that doesn’t mean it’s not necessary, desirable, and worth it.

Individuals or Teams

Most of this logic applies to personal change in much the same way that it applies to teams or entire organizations. Workplace change is a collaboration of effort typically requiring individuals to get on board and as acceptance grows the group unites in their effort. The amount of buy-in or engagement of the effort begins with each individual connecting their role and responsibility with the bigger picture, what I often describe as having a sense of purpose. When the problem and their purpose are clear, and the need for change is recognized (sell the problem not the solution), people will usually be hungry for change.

How hungry are you?

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and coach that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is the author of the newly released book, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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Did You Create Buy-in?

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If you have ever been involved in a workplace change effort, you probably already realize the significance of creating buy-in. CEO’s to front line staff often feel responsibility to encourage and support change efforts and buy-in is a significant part of the change process.

Business man at team meeting point flip-chart

Recently I wrote about tips for creating buy-in for change efforts but this leads to additional questions about understanding if, when, or even how to know if buy-in has been achieved. Perhaps worthy of exploration is to consider what are some of the factors that would indicate a lack of buy-in?  Here are a few:

  • Chronic expressions of why the change won’t work
  • Silence or only one-way communication (no feedback) regarding the change
  • Limited or no discussion about any problems or roadblocks, only criticism for the solution
  • Extremely low morale and lack of enthusiasm, poor attitudes
  • Tardiness, absenteeism or worse, employee turnover

If you are a change leader, you’ll quickly recognize that some of these problems are a natural part of the process but that isn’t where it ends. Often one of the biggest challenges for change leaders is not so much about facing the problems, it is the thought or belief that there should never be any. Problems will occur and so will some resistance. Welcoming and carefully analyzing all feedback, not just the feedback that you really want to hear helps change leaders measure not only levels of buy-in but also provides a gauge for progress. Keep in mind that sometimes buy-in is obtained by selling the problem, not by selling the solution. 

Have you achieved buy-in?

Unfortunately I’ve witnessed many change leaders connecting observations of workplace behaviors to success, when in fact these behaviors might be more representative of a deepening problem. Here are a couple of good examples:

“People are just working, there isn’t any conflict.”

“Lately, I haven’t heard of any problems or issues.”

Certainly both of these can be very positive observations, but make no mistake about it that sometimes a lack of conflict really means a lack of commitment and often signals a presence of fear. Fear of retaliation or fears of job loss are two of the most common examples. When you ask people privately, they’ll tell you they are, “just doing my job” or “I not saying a thing, I’m not getting fired.” Any of these circumstances are representation of a lack of buy-in and a lack of commitment to achieve the future vision. Sometimes people are going through the motions, but there is no forward progress.

Buy-in definitely has strong linkages to motivation and inspiration. Individuals and teams that are bought-in are energized. There should be chatter, smiles, and an intense focus on achievement. Change doesn’t always mean that we will like it, but when we understand it we can more easily commit to it.

Levels of buy-in.

Can there be different degrees or levels of buy-in? Sure, there probably can be, and most buy-in is not on or off like a light switch. Many people will give change a try, the key is sustaining efforts that are in support of the vision. Feedback is going to be critical and those involved in the change need to help each other actualize the vision. This is most often achieved by building on each success, no matter how small. There will be obstacles, hurdles, and likely some mistakes, but when the correct path is being followed the intensity of buy-in will grow.

A closing thought, it is often easier to measure the hard costs (tools, equipment, and front end capital) of a change initiative than it is to measure the time required for an organizational (people, culture, values and beliefs) transition.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and coach that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is the author of the newly released book, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

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Do You Create Shared Experiences?

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Imagine yourself in a public seminar, you’ve been asked to complete a short one-page worksheet individually, there is a front and back to this one-pager, it will require about 15 minutes of your time to complete.  Suddenly about six minutes into the activity the facilitator shouts stop. You glance around and many facial expressions show frustration because there was insufficient time to finish. Are you bought-in to this activity?

Planning work

Change efforts require buy-in. Often supervisors and managers are charged with creating a winning environment by making sure all employees buy-in to the most recent change effort. One problem with creating buy-in is that many people are not sure how to do it. What might be worse is that the consequences for not creating it are very big. We can quickly think of things such as a lack of engagement, change resistance, and perhaps the worst consequence, change failure.

Shared experiences help to create buy-in and we achieve a stronger connection when we experience the same situations or circumstances. During my career I’ve witnessed organizations and employee teams make huge come backs from very adverse conditions. One manufacturing plant was completely flooded by a nearby stream, and a mechanical services company burned to the ground in a fire. Fortunately, no one lost their life or was injured in either of these cases but the financial burden was tremendous. In both cases, these businesses had to shut down for a short period of time, regroup, manage customers, vendors, and employees, not to mention make payroll. Both of these businesses emerged from near devastation because the employees teamed up, worked together, and brought them back to life. They became stronger than ever before, in part because they shared in the experience and the difficulty of the adverse condition.

Certainly no organization wishes or purposely chooses to have such an extreme experience such as a fire or flood, and to strengthen buy-in, it’s not required. Buy-in created through shared experiences can happen through appropriately constructed training programs, inclusion in strategy or planning meetings, or even by allowing a team to work on a project together where each individual has a specific job task or role that they must complete without assistance or takeover from someone else in the group. Too often in the spirit of teamwork a faster moving employee will help an employee lagging behind on a team project. This is great in the spirit of teamwork, and often required to be timely and efficient; one drawback is that the employee who lags behind does not become as bought-in as they otherwise would have. The best employees and teams find a balance when managing this type of effort or project.

Back to that seminar, without enough time to complete the worksheet it in its entirety you most likely were not bought-in. You didn’t share in the experience and additional debriefing and learning points expressed by the facilitator most likely did not create sufficient knowledge transfer.

If you want buy-in, create more shared experiences.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and coach that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is the author of the newly released book, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at DennisEGilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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5 Tips to Create Buy-in for Change.

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Good leadership is sometimes defined by the ability to effectively manage change. Creating buy-in for change initiatives often centers on skillful navigation and communication strategies.

Team leader giving a presentation

Show me a team processing change and I’ll show you people concerned or struggling to create buy-in. Buy-in doesn’t have to be some elusive nebulous buzzword that everyone knows they need but no one knows how to create it.

Skillfully navigating or leading workplace change can be much easier when you keep these five tips in mind:

  1. Acknowledge and highlight successful changes in the past no matter how small. Collective wins build confidence and confidence is often one of the missing factors when it comes to getting teams over the hump. If you don’t have any past collective wins share stories that highlight others determination, persistence, and abilities to overcome obstacles.
  2. Openly share what you know about the change and what you don’t know. Today we hear so much in the news about transparency, likely because it is relevant for establishing and building trust. When it comes to change, most people don’t like surprises. When everyone knows what to expect and when they’ll feel more comfortable and trusting while transitioning.
  3. Include short term goals as required to keep the feeling of progress and accomplishments high. We’ve often heard that small steps lead to big wins and this is definitely true when it comes to change efforts. Even focusing on the smallest win will help keep people from straying into a focus on work that might have required do-overs, direction changes, or re-work.
  4. Be as fluid as possible, allow room for approaches or solutions that may be different, but will still achieve the end result. Too often rigidity stops progress and front-line people are well versed in assessing speed and alternative approaches to getting the desired results. It might not appear on the project roadmap, but fine tune any project approach by accepting detours that don’t derail progress and still achieve the desired end result. Be fluid.
  5. Repetitively acknowledge all efforts that are consistent with the new vision and objectives. Be a strong role model by modeling the behaviors that align with where you are going while also highlighting and acknowledging others who have already transitioned or who are making positive progress. What you focus on is what you get and that is definitely true during change efforts.

Nobody said change was easy, and nobody said that everyone will like it, but just because it is hard or unpopular doesn’t mean that it isn’t a good idea or necessary. You’ll almost always meet resistance to change and have to carefully transition through any change effort by being an exceptional communicator. Effective communication helps build the trust and integrity that are required to navigate even the most delicate situations; it also is the foundation for great leadership.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and coach that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is the author of the newly released book, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at DennisEGilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

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Do you have a no change culture?

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Change might be considered to be one of the most underrated words responsible for eliciting a strong emotional response. In the workplace when somebody brings up change, the measurement of heart rate, blood pressure, and anxiety levels are sure to increase. Likely not the kind of change anyone is hoping for.

Planning work

Change is a factor for any successful venture and its sensitive nature is a constant across all generations, not just boomers, not just millennials or any of the other generational segments, but all of them. Most people don’t like change and we could entertain the idea of change and our comfort zone which holds an important message, but that isn’t the discussion point here.

Change and Culture

Change leaders often suggest that they need to obtain buy-in. Does buy-in for change come naturally, or is it at least in-part something that is created or obtained? Change makes people feel uneasy, nervous, and afraid. It may not even be so much about liking or disliking change but it is often about the collective experiences (sometimes negative) that people have accumulated during their lifetime. These collective experiences sometimes make people falsely believe that those who have been in the workplace longer are more resistant to change, citing that they have experienced more change (change failure) and as a result are less enthusiastic about anything related to change. For each argument there might be an equal and opposite argument and this subject is not an exception for this type of controversy.

Does your organization have a no change culture? Often, it is not hard to find attitudes in the workplace that are change adverse, and I should stress that not only is this not uncommon, but in many cases it should be expected. This doesn’t mean that it is the bosses fault or that it is a terrible organization, it might just mean that there is more opportunity to create strong buy-in. Do people in your organization have the attitude of:

  • Everything is fine, don’t change anything
  • We’re knowledgeable and comfortable
  • We have few problems or they are easily fixed
  • We’re in control of this, no worries
  • We like it safe and protected

When the culture bleeds change adverse attitudes you might just have a no change culture. Often those responsible for change efforts believe this is a brick wall, and one that is too high to jump or too hard to scale. What organizations fail to see is the potential opportunity to create buy-in through actualizing the vision, creating shared experiences, and effectively using communication channels that build trust.

What about your organization or life’s experiences? Do you have a no change attitude or culture?

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and coach that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is the author of the newly released book, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at DennisEGilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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Creating Buy-In

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So often we hear the words, “create buy-in” and we recognize that it means that we have to get everyone on the same page, the same sheet of music, or at the least, inspired to move towards a prescribed direction. From my experiences true buy-in is an elusive concept, a concept that everyone knows the desired outcome, but one that very few people know or understand how to create.

Planning work

Many of us have heard that creating buy-in is accomplished by including everyone in the change, allowing for questions, discussions, and for the change resistors to have a say. Of course all of those help, but they are not the complete solution. As part of the lunch and learn programs I offer to the business community I put together this short video which digs a little deeper into some factors critical for creating buy-in. Those factors may include:

  • Creating Shared Experiences
  • Trusted Communication
  • Practicing Patience

When change leaders and teams are able to obtain reasonable levels of success in those three areas, there is a much greater likelihood that the change at hand will also succeed.

Do you have buy-in for your change?

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a keynote speaker, corporate trainer, and consultant that specializes in helping businesses accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. Reach him through his website at http://DennisEGilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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