Sunday, May 3, 2015

Book Review: Buy In

Buy-In: Saving Your Good Idea from Getting Shot DownBuy-In: Saving Your Good Idea from Getting Shot Down by John P. Kotter

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fear Mongering. Delay. Confusion. Ridicule.  According to John Kotter, these are the four primary ways people use to kill other people's ideas.  Seems about right.

The pace of change is picking up in our world.  So is the volume of resistance.  Any suggestion of doing something differently will generate a response from those who either like the status quo or who don't see the need for the change.  That's why every effort at change management has to include a plan to communicate for buy-in.  This is Step Four in Kotter's Eight Stage Change Process, and it important enough to merit its own book.

Written fable-style, Buy In takes us through a community library meeting where a group of leaders must convince others of the need to install computers.  Seems easy enough, right?  Well... all four tactics are used by the opponents: "We don't want the kind of people who use computers hanging around in the library." "What's the rush? Let's do this later." "I don't understand the data you have here, I've done some research of my own and...." "The people who are proposing this have a personal agenda."  We've heard them all.

What's the solution? Don't avoid confronting the opponents.  Make sure they are at the meeting and voicing their concerns so they can be addressed. Keep your arguments simple and clear. Be respectful and courteous. Focus your presentation to people who truly are undecided or can be influenced, not on the hard-core opponents. Prepare in advance and hold yourself with confidence.  That's always persuasive!
This will make a good reference manual for anyone preparing a presentation for others on something they would like to try.  Change management is always a leadership issue, and John Kotter is one of the best guides we have.  Click here to download a free two-page summary of the book.

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