Congratulations! You’re Aligned. But Do You Have Buy-In?

As a leader, you know full well that building stakeholder alignment is your golden ticket. However, getting both the emotional and rational buy-in to your strategy or plan is essential for long-term and sustained success. If the journey to alignment is handled well, it provides motivation, excitement and unity around a vision. But done half-heartedly, the alignment process can quickly derail causing confusion, low morale and destructive employee disengagement. Even worse, statistically speaking, the project itself will be all but doomed to fail. Our advice? Don’t waste resources on a mediocre quest for false alignment.

Fortunately, we’ve been at this a while and know a thing or two about how to set organizations on the path to “true alignment,” getting beyond the state of “falling in line” and reaching the holy grail of “Buy-In.”

Go Big & Broad
Cast a wide net. Isolated groups with too many like-minded individuals are often too concerned with maintaining unity than with objectively evaluating their situation, alternatives and options. This can be destructive to effective thinking. Instead, seek diversity with contributors in different disciplines, backgrounds and needs. We say send out a welcoming committee for those who aren’t afraid of disagreement or controversy. Friends of change are harder to find than foes.

Be Clear and Inclusive
You want to generate buy-in. But buy-in for what? Do your stakeholders really understand the project or initiative? As much as we’d like to think people should be able to read our minds, not everyone is a professional mentalist. Be clear. Keep things simple but be sure to address any real-world complexities. Explain your rationale. Provide explanations. Your objective is to make sure your team knows where they are going, why they are going there and what the expectations are.

Foster the Truth
This is straightforward (Because why bother getting people on board with alternative facts). No, your goal is to get the real, actionable truth. We have found that getting to the truth means asking tough questions and getting lots of feedback. But that can sometimes be challenging in an often political and highly charged workplace environment. Employees can be reluctant to share their true opinions about a project or initiative simply because they are afraid of potential repercussions. But you want and NEED the truth. This is exactly why ThinkTank’s digital engagement system was developed to anonymously capture stakeholder contributions.

It means you’ll get honest and insightful feedback with room for them to expand on their responses or comment in greater detail. Leaders will get everyone’s perspective on a subject without the associated politics and typical filters which can severely limit Truth.