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Buy in  complementary approaches of efrat and kotter
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Buy in complementary approaches of efrat and kotter

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Two approaches of buy in, with a lot of similarity and yet different but complementary.

Two approaches of buy in, with a lot of similarity and yet different but complementary.

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  • 1. Buy-in : Complementary Approaches of Efrat and Kotter Shridhar Lolla, PhD CVMark ConsultingAs I read through the last page of Kotter’s Buy*in and got up from my easy chair, the door bellrang. My 8 year daughter attended the call and collected the courier.As her habit is, she carefully opened the box. By reading aloud, “Handbook”, she turned thepages and asked innocently, “what is this book about?”.I said, “TOC! It is about focus.”It was the TOC tome, ‘The Theory of Constraints- Handbook’. Ever since it was released lastyear, I wanted to see it in my hand. And here it was.“Oh really!” she exclaimed.While she quickly flipped through the pages to see if there is anything for her, I realized thatFOCUS was the buzzword in our home during past 1 week, thanks to the TV channel thatbeamed Jackie Chan movie ‘Karate Kid’. These days, the movie is running kids crazy for its keyword FOCUS, used in almost every alternate frames of Jackie. Jackie Chan talks less andwhen he talks, he says, Focus; the approach makes the kid a Karate exponent.“Oh no!” finding nothing of her interest there, she ran away into her room.…When I touched the book, page 571, chapter 20, The Layer of Resistance-The Buy in processaccording to TOC , by Efrat, was open in front of me. It was a sheer coincidence; and withKotter’s Buy*in still fresh in my mind, I walked into my reading room holding the book open inmy hands.At a quick glance the Buy*in process of Kotter and Efrat seemed same. They both start with 3categories of questions to weave into buy-in process. Both advocate, not to avoid objectionsand accord respect to the other side. Both ask for preparation and place responsibility for thebuy-in process on the proponent of the idea. The tactics for handling the objections/ attacks alsoseem pretty similar. Both talk about win -win results.Fundamental difference between the two is the situation considered for ‘buy in’. Kotter talksabout highly urgent situations and a scenario of simultaneously dealing with multiplestakeholders. While Efrat talks about highly important and transformational situation where there 1Copyright © 2010, CVMark Consulting, All rights reserved.
  • 2. is enough time. (probably, a scenario of just a few and if possible one participant ?). Kotter talksabout immediate ‘buy in’, while Efrat talks about a consultative and iterative approach andleaves time to the proponents preparation and level of understanding of participant. Most of theTOC literature give a feeling if they are actually written for consultants; while Kotter’s is forinsider of an organization. The TOC way of buy-in seems good for one to one transformationprocess , while Kotter talks about buy- in from a group of people.Since Efrat talks about transformational situation, she also proposes to use the opportunity tocreate new knowledge about the clients.Efrat says that the ‘bad guy’ image of the other party must be taken out of mind while gettinginto the process of buy in, for people are good. Where as Kotter takes a practical path ofincluding the NoNos, self centered, skeptics, stubborn etc. and using simple responses to buythem in.Most of TOC literature seems to give an impression of getting 100% WIN-WIN change; Kottertalks about substantial buy beyond 51% , that is practical enough.Of course both Erfat and Kotter caution about falling into circles in the process of buy-in thatwould jeopardize effort on an important change.…Within TOC applications, ‘buy in’ is often considered a marketing approach.The key to buy-in, as per Efrat is creating a sense of ‘Psychological’ ownership. She says thatpeople must ‘FEEL’ that the change is theirs, it is their initiative. I am though a bit thoughtful ifthe other party must ‘THINK’ or ‘FEEL’ or actually be the change. And if the Buy in is just only toclear the psychological layer.She says that the layers of resistance is a way to build this sense of ‘psychological’ ownership,by sharing our (who?) ownership with others. She says, we must shed egos and must invite‘inquiries and objections’. The idea is to know what truly bothers them. This process of invitingtheir queries is to know what really bothers them and finding answer to these, will help in fillingthe gaps in their understanding of change. She also says that some of their queries will actuallyadd value to the change process. When some of their suggestions are included into the changeprocess, we give them control of change. And thus we increase their ownership of the change.Which I believe is more than a psychological change in the other party.As theory of constraints approach is, she does not give a list of likely objections or resistancebeyond 9 layers. Kotter, in his book, goes to those ‘specifics’ and not only gives 24 objectionsbut also the direction to deal with them. 2Copyright © 2010, CVMark Consulting, All rights reserved.
  • 3. The underlying logic of TOCs limiting to 9 layers is perhaps the provision of thinking process(TP) and the tools embedded there. By using these tools at various layers, it would be possibleto bring out all objections even if they are more than 24, and address them.In practical situations, you do get stuck in the ‘buy in’ process, and when you do, would yousearch the 24 directions in which objections would come or use the well practiced TP ( tools likeCRT, Clouds, FRT, NBR, PRT, SnT Tree etc.)to clear the layer of resistance. It seems that fora long term engagement in transformation process, the latter is essential and as you moveahead, you can build upon the 24 directions Kotter gave. Efrat does recognize that a largechange may have several different finer layers of resistance. And I guess you need to handlethem on the go.There are a few listed differences though I find between the two, and practitioners mustrecognize them.…So what does Efrat say ultimately.First be aware of the three basic layers of resistances. Prepare yourself for discussion, byworking on the 9 sub layers of resistances. Use TP in the preparation and anticipate the 9 sublayers of resistance and their variations. Be prepared for surprises in the type of resistances. Beready to accept the objections. Involve the third party in articulating and including their validobjections and suggestions in the process of change. Initiate the discussion in the order oflayers of resistance and avoid the temptation of hopping between layers.……After going through the Chapter, when I flipped through the over 1200 page handbook,comprising almost every aspect of TOC body of knowledge, it looked handful. I got a pricy buyat Rs. 1200 /- (appx 25USD), at a significant discount on the cover price, at the online stores ofIndiaplaza. 3Copyright © 2010, CVMark Consulting, All rights reserved.

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