How to Create Buy-In Before you Blowup


The hardest thing to change is an organization’s culture. It’s exponentially more difficult when you see the need but others don’t. Some organizations die in the process. Others start, struggle, stagnate, and revert to mediocrity.

Changing organizational culture destroys leaders.

Implementing culture change produced the biggest mistakes of my leadership career. One thing I learned is people go along in silent agreement until change hits them personally. The moment of pain is the moment resistance begins.

The thing that motivates change stops it, pain.

From Facebook:

A Leadership Freak Facebook follower offered this question to Amy Lyman, “How do you get buy-in from your employees to support culture change?”

Amy’s Background:

Amy is the Cofounder of Great Place to Work®, and author of, The Trustworthy Leader. Amy has spent thirty years studying what causes some groups to thrive while others stall.

Amy points out a fatal mistake:

A fatal mistake in culture change processes happens when a small group of people tries to force a new culture on to a larger group of people.

Culture develops among people through:

  1. Interaction.
  2. Inclusion.
  3. Active participation.

5 suggestions for creating buy-in by Amy Lyman:

Buy-in only happens if people are actively involved in the culture change process.

  1. Talk with them.
  2. Ask them to be involved in the process.
  3. Listen to their ideas.
  4. Give them projects to work on themselves.
  5. Implement some of their proposed changes.

My suggestion for creating buy-in:

Stories make us. Great stories make us great. Telling stories that illustrate the changes you seek makes change possible. I want people in the organization I lead to listen to their inner drive to make a difference. Last week we heard a “make a difference” story that made everyone applaud.

What’s your suggestion for creating buy-in during culture change?