How to Get Buy-in: What Can Kill a Good Idea and What Can Save It

January 2011
by John P. Kotter and Lorne A. Whitehead

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How to Get Buy-in: What Can Kill a Good Idea and What Can Save It

by John P. Kotter and Lorne A. Whitehead

You believe in a good idea. You’re convinced it is needed badly, and needed now. But you need sufficient support to implement it. You propose a plan. You present it well. Then colleagues raise issues, some thoughtfully, some with inane comments and verbal bullets. The proposal is shot down, or it is accepted but without enough support to gain all its benefits, or it slowly dies a sad death.

It doesn’t have to be that way. We have found that attacks are commonly based on one or more of four strategies—fear-mongering, delay, confusion, and ridicule. And we have also found that recognizing these strategies can take you a long way toward dealing with them.

1. Fear-Mongering

This kind of attack strategy is aimed at raising anxieties, so that people begin to worry that implementing a genuinely good plan, pursuing a great idea, or making a needed vision a reality might be filled with frightening risks—even though that is not the case.

The trick in creating fear is to start with an undeniable fact and then to spin a tale that ends with consequences that are genuinely frightening or that push the anxiety buttons we al…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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