Tag Archives: buy-in

Just a Cover-up

“What do you mean, cripple my team?” Lydia protested. “I mean, I agree that I shouldn’t force my decision on the group. I need to get buy-in. But cripple my team?”

“No, in this case, buy-in is just a cover-up. This is a team decision with team responsibility and consequences for the team no matter which way they choose. As the leader, if you make this decision for the team, they are no longer responsible and the consequences are no longer theirs. Even with buy-in, when the team suffers the consequences from your decision, you will be to blame. They will take you to the mat.”

Lydia was silent.

“And your team will gain more experience and momentum in avoiding responsibility than stepping up to the plate. As the leader, you will cripple your team.”

Action First

“Sometimes, I feel like I am fighting an uphill battle,” Camella explained. “I call a meeting and describe what I want done. We go over all the details, but some just want to rain on the parade. They talk it down in the meeting so it has no chance when it makes it to manufacturing. I know I want to do the right thing and get buy in before we get started, but I feel like I am stalemated.”

“Have you ever reversed the process?” I asked.

“What do you mean?” said Camella, gaining curiosity.

“Sometimes, when I know the explanation is going to draw fire, I don’t explain. Sometimes, I just sweep people into action. Before anyone has a chance to protest or complain that something won’t work, we demonstrate that it will work. We don’t have to go through the whole process, just enough to warm the team up to the idea. Action first, then we debrief and go for buy-in, after they have proved to themselves that it will work.”

Third Leg on the Stool

“More?” Phillip asked.

“Phillip, one of the biggest mistakes a company makes when it hires people, is underestimating what is required for the person to be effective in the position. The role of a Project Manager requires a new skill set, a skill set that most companies never train.”

“We talked about schedules and checklists, but you said there was another tool, a third leg.”

I nodded. “Perhaps the most important tool. Meetings. Most PMs know they need to have meetings, but they just gut their way through. Nobody likes their meetings. The team would skip them if they could. Participation by team members hardly exists.

“Think what a meeting could be. It makes communication consistent because everyone hears the same thing. It provides the opportunity for interactive participation and questions. It encourages participation and promotes buy-in. It can be used as an accountability tool.

“But effective meetings rarely happen, because most managers don’t know how.” Phillip’s turn to nod. It began to sink in. Running the job is completely different than doing the job.