NCompass Live: How To Get Buy-In


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One of the key factors in a successful project is buy-in, the process that gets staffers, board members, and other participants to adopt the goals of the project as their own. Because buy-in is so important--even crucial--it is worth spending time to achieve it. Richard Miller, Nebraska Library Commission Library Development Director, will discuss proven techniques for getting buy-in, and making sure that everyone is on board.

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NCompass Live: How To Get Buy-In

  1. 1. Richard Miller 2/24/10
  2. 2. <ul><li>Outline of Presentation </li></ul><ul><li>Definition of Buy-In </li></ul><ul><li>Pertinent Quotations (throughout) </li></ul><ul><li>Ideas from the Business World on Buy-In </li></ul><ul><li>Ideas from the Library World on Buy-In </li></ul><ul><li>Questions </li></ul>
  3. 3. Definition: Buy-in is the process of gaining people’s understanding, commitment, and action in support of your goals From How to Get Buy-In to Ensure Results
  4. 4. <ul><li>So how do we get buy-in? </li></ul><ul><li>Use strategic stories of a positive future. </li></ul><ul><li>Empower the staff such that they are part </li></ul><ul><li>of determining how to reach this goal. </li></ul><ul><li>If staff come to realize it is in their best </li></ul><ul><li>interest as well, you’ve got buy-in. </li></ul><ul><li>For real “process” improvement, we need </li></ul><ul><li>to change the business rules, incentives, </li></ul><ul><li>and measurements used within the </li></ul><ul><li>organization. </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>Author Lisa Brochu suggests that getting “support” is stronger than getting buy-in. She suggests that we: </li></ul><ul><li>Ask for full participation in the planning </li></ul><ul><li>process </li></ul><ul><li>Find a great facilitator </li></ul><ul><li>Keep decision makers and funders in the </li></ul><ul><li>loop </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>Speak up </li></ul><ul><li>Be prepared with facts and appropriate </li></ul><ul><li>information </li></ul><ul><li>Let someone else own the idea </li></ul><ul><li>From Getting Support Instead of Buy-In </li></ul>
  7. 7. “ Now that you’ve decided to plan and have designed a culture-friendly process that fits your strategic situation, you have to make the pill easy to swallow. In short, you have to overcome people’s natural resistance to planning and motivate them to do a superlative job.” From Team-Based Strategic Planning by C. Davis Fogg
  8. 8. <ul><li>Reasons for planning (usually accepted by most employees): </li></ul><ul><li>Secures the future </li></ul><ul><li>Provides a roadmap </li></ul><ul><li>Sets priorities </li></ul><ul><li>Allocates resources </li></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>Establishes measures of success </li></ul><ul><li>Gets inputs and ideas from all parts of the </li></ul><ul><li>organization </li></ul><ul><li>Gains commitment to implement the plan </li></ul><ul><li>Coordinates the actions of diverse and </li></ul><ul><li>separated parts of the organization </li></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>What’s in it for employees personally? </li></ul><ul><li>Resources to do what they want if they plan </li></ul><ul><li>More secure future </li></ul><ul><li>Financial rewards </li></ul><ul><li>Recognition by peers and supervisors if </li></ul><ul><li>they succeed </li></ul><ul><li>Inverse of all the above if they fail </li></ul>
  11. 11. <ul><li>So how do we overcome resistance to planning? </li></ul><ul><li>Initially communicate the need for planning </li></ul><ul><li>Train key people in how to plan and effect </li></ul><ul><li>change </li></ul><ul><li>Conduct team building to establish and </li></ul><ul><li>expand teamwork for developing and </li></ul><ul><li>implementing plans </li></ul>
  12. 12. <ul><li>Remove barriers and provide resources </li></ul><ul><li>Identify early tangible results and publicize </li></ul><ul><li>and reinforce these </li></ul><ul><li>Establish a tolerant climate that accepts </li></ul><ul><li>and learns from mistakes </li></ul><ul><li>Be persuasively persistent – There will be a plan, a vision, and subsequent results </li></ul>
  13. 13. <ul><li>Remove barriers and provide resources </li></ul><ul><li>and reinforce these </li></ul><ul><li>Establish a tolerant climate that accepts </li></ul><ul><li>and learns from mistakes </li></ul><ul><li>Be persuasively persistent – There will be a plan, a vision, and subsequent results </li></ul><ul><li>Identify early tangible results and publicize </li></ul>
  14. 14. “ Men often oppose a thing merely because they have had no agency in planning it or because it may have been planned by those whom they dislike.” Alexander Hamilton  
  15. 15. <ul><li>Author Rune Arsevik addresses why external consultants often have success at getting buy-in for their conclusions and recommendations while internal terms do not. Internal teams: </li></ul><ul><li>Do not know that a communication process is </li></ul><ul><li>required. </li></ul><ul><li>Have a low understanding of the political issues </li></ul><ul><li>related to their projects. </li></ul><ul><li>Will typically develop final presentations that focus </li></ul><ul><li>on the process rather than on the conclusions </li></ul><ul><li>reached. </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul>
  16. 16. <ul><li>Usually do not have any experience dealing with the </li></ul><ul><li>group processes that typically should take place </li></ul><ul><li>within a steering committee. </li></ul><ul><li>Usually do not think about also presenting to other </li></ul><ul><li>stakeholders who may not have been represented in </li></ul><ul><li>the steering committee. </li></ul><ul><li>From “How to Get Buy-in for Project Conclusions and Recommendations” </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul>
  17. 17. “ Three simple steps will multiply your chances of success. How do I get buy-in for this project? Involvement, involvement, involvement.”   From “Your Business Plan – The secret of getting buy-in” by Andrew Smith  
  18. 18. <ul><li>Author Donald Riggs, in Strategic Planning for Library Managers , lists typical planning fears: </li></ul><ul><li>It is hard to plan </li></ul><ul><li>It puts constraints on my actions </li></ul><ul><li>It forces me to make decisions </li></ul><ul><li>Making a plan provides a yardstick for critique </li></ul><ul><li>and evaluation </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul>
  19. 19. <ul><li>Planning brings direction and organization out </li></ul><ul><li>of chaos </li></ul><ul><li>Planning brings its own chaos and disruption </li></ul><ul><li>Riggs emphasizes: You must keep the staff informed throughout the different stages of the planning process. </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul>
  20. 20. Strategic Planning for Results by Sandra Nelson directly addresses buy-in in Task 5 (of that planning process) entitled, “Prepare for Change.” The four steps in Task 5 are: Step 5.1 Assess the library’s readiness for change Step 5.2 Plan to create a positive environment for change Step 5.3 Review and revise communication plans Step 5.4 Train supervisors and managers  
  21. 21. Step 5.1 Assess the library’s readiness for change “ Change readiness” is defined as, “The current beliefs, attitudes, and expectations of staff regarding the need, value, and probable result of a change – major or minor.”  
  22. 22. <ul><li>One can measure “change readiness” by gathering information, most of it anecdotal, on staff feelings, attitudes, expectation, and past reactions. The information will focus on the following: </li></ul><ul><li>Previous planning processes </li></ul><ul><li>Recent major changes </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul>
  23. 23. <ul><li>Organizational culture </li></ul><ul><li>Risk-taking environment </li></ul><ul><li>Staff morale </li></ul><ul><li>Staff reactions to change </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul>
  24. 24. <ul><li>Staff tend to be divided into 4 groups: </li></ul><ul><li>Those that enthusiastically support change </li></ul><ul><li>(10% to 15%) </li></ul><ul><li>Those who are relatively positive about </li></ul><ul><li>change </li></ul><ul><li>Those who have reservations about change </li></ul><ul><li>Those who actively oppose change (10% to </li></ul><ul><li>15%) </li></ul><ul><li>Change battles in most libraries are won or lost with the middle 70% of the staff. </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul>
  25. 25. As a general rule, if more than 50% of the staff who will be affected by a change are supportive, move forward.  
  26. 26. Workform F – a structured method to “Analyze Change Readiness”  
  27. 27.  
  28. 28. <ul><li>Step 5.2 Plan to create a positive environment for change </li></ul><ul><li>The two ways to do this: </li></ul><ul><li>Eliminate or minimize the factors that impede </li></ul><ul><li>the change environment, or </li></ul><ul><li>Add to or enhance the factors that support creating such an environment </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul>
  29. 29. “ Managers often put more of their energies onto the negative side of this equation, not always the most effective approach. The most successful efforts may be those that accentuate the positive.”  
  30. 30. <ul><li>How to “accentuate the positive” </li></ul><ul><li>If there was a previous plan, identify the 3 most </li></ul><ul><li>positive changes that occurred. </li></ul><ul><li>Personalize the messages you send. </li></ul><ul><li>Work with senior management to develop talking </li></ul><ul><li>points that capture the group’s positive feelings </li></ul><ul><li>about the planning process. </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul>
  31. 31. <ul><li>Initiate a rewards program to recognize innovative, </li></ul><ul><li>creative changes proposed and implemented by </li></ul><ul><li>staff. </li></ul><ul><li>BUT don’t “apply a bandage” to a negative, then </li></ul><ul><li>declare it solved or decide it’s insoluble. </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul>
  32. 32. Step 5.3 Review and revise communication plans Workform A – Communication Plan  
  33. 33. Workform A – Communication Plan  
  34. 34. <ul><li>Develop a communication plan for each of the 10 tasks in the Planning for Results process, answering the following questions for all affected groups: </li></ul><ul><li>Why do the group members need to know about this </li></ul><ul><li>task? </li></ul><ul><li>What do they know now? </li></ul><ul><li>What will they need to know? </li></ul><ul><li>When will they need to know it? </li></ul><ul><li>How will you inform them? </li></ul><ul><li>Who will be responsible for informing them? </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul>
  35. 35. “ Remember that the library staff is more likely to support a strategic plan they helped to shape than a plan developed for them.  
  36. 36. <ul><li>Step 5.4 Train supervisors and managers </li></ul><ul><li>Managers and staff need formal training in organizational </li></ul><ul><li>communication. </li></ul><ul><li>This training can be designed/presented by one or more </li></ul><ul><li>library staff or by professional trainer. </li></ul><ul><li>The training could be designed around projects identified in </li></ul><ul><li>Step 5.1, the readiness for change step (and therefore </li></ul><ul><li>appear more pragmatic than theoretical). </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul>
  37. 37. <ul><li>This training should: </li></ul><ul><li>Be learner-focused </li></ul><ul><li>Model productive behavior and effective skills </li></ul><ul><li>Inspire and motivate </li></ul><ul><li>Celebrate personal and group achievements </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul>
  38. 38. Key point: To achieve buy-in: COMMUNICATE, COMMUNICATE, COMMUNICATE  
  39. 39. “ Public sentiment is everything. With it, nothing can fail. Without it, nothing can succeed.” Abraham Lincoln  
  40. 40. QUESTIONS?  
  41. 41. RESOURCES (in the order used): from,   “ Getting Support instead of buy-in” by Lisa Brochu:   Chapter 6, “Preparing the Org: Getting Buy-in & Developing Skills for Strategic Change” from Team-Based Strategic Planning . . . by C. Davis Fogg:
  42. 42. “ How to get buy-in for project conclusions and recommendations” by Rune Aresvik:   Link to “getting buy-in for your vision”:   Riggs, Donald E. Strategic Planning for Library Managers . Phoenix: The Oryx Press, 1984.   Nelson, Sandra S. for the Public Library Association. Strategic Planning for Results . Chicago: American Library Association, 2008.