While change is inevitable in any business, it is often met with considerable resistance. The less information employees have when taking a new direction, the more resistant to the change they’re likely to be. It’s important that leadership have the right tools to address challenging resistance and to ultimately gain team buy-in on new processes, projects, and decisions that need to be made. 

There are particular habits that management can implement to gain trust and remain as transparent as possible with the team so everyone involved feels as comfortable and confident as possible with the change. Learn how to get buy-in from your team so you can continue to collaborate and work towards your goals more effectively. The more buy-in you get from your team, the more productive each person will be in executing their responsibilities. 

What is buy-in? 

Buy-in is essentially building trust and instilling confidence in your employees regarding any business decisions that are being made. Obtaining buy-in from your team means that everyone trusts the decision and believes in the vision and value of it. Getting this buy-in from the team requires considerable planning because it’s extremely important that you ensure the quality of the idea or decision being made is worthy of the changes that come with it. Employees need to feel confident that the decision is beneficial to them and to the organization. You’ll also want to ensure that employees feel somewhat excited about the change so task execution has no drawbacks. 

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Why team buy-in is important 

Team buy-in is important for several reasons. First, it creates team cohesion and instills the sense that everyone’s opinions and ideas on the changes being made are considered and valued. This cohesion will make employees feel appreciated and ensure that individuals know that their opinions matter and make a difference. Obtaining buy-in is also great for team morale and performance because buy-in promotes teamwork and improves the competence of employees, sinec projects and goals need to be explained with full transparency to obtain this buy-in in the first place. Team buy-in also promotes and encourages creativity and risk-taking when employees present their own ideas and ask for buy-in from the rest of their colleagues and from leadership. Buy-in gives everyone more ownership and is effective in balancing the strengths and weaknesses of the team as you use different skill sets strategically to tackle the task at hand in the most productive way. In this sense, you take all the responsibility off one individual and work together to achieve larger goals. 

8 steps to get team buy-in  

1Come fully prepared 

We’ve all been in a meeting where the facilitator doesn’t seem prepared and therefore cannot come off as effective or convincing. If you’re not immediately prepared to speak to your team, individuals will disengage and people will feel much less compelled to buy-in to what you’re trying to sell. It’s important that you come to your meeting or discussion fully prepared so you can speak confidently and are prepared to answer any questions or pushback that you will likely receive. Confidence is convincing, so if you believe in what you’re presenting, your team is much more likely to agree with you and want to help you work towards the final goal. 

2Be transparent 

A lack of detail or information will cause resistance and fear among your team. If your team can’t understand why a change is taking place or what this change may involve, this unknown generates fear. As such, it’s important that you plan ahead when delivering any changes to your team so you have already hashed out all of the details, implications, and challenges that you and your team may face. This transparency will create more trust because your team will recognize that you have nothing to hide and are there to support everyone each step of the way. It’s important for leadership to fearlessly lead the change they want to see, rather than delegating tasks and sitting back. 

3Schedule follow-up meetings 

Once you’ve delivered the changes that are going to be made, make sure you schedule follow-up meetings. It’s important to have both one-on-one meetings and team meetings so you can keep your team members informed and give them an opportunity to ask any questions or voice any concerns they may have. With Fellow, you can lay out information in a meeting agenda that allows your team members to plug in their questions. This way, there are no surprises for your team members concerning the topics that will be covered in the meeting, and you can prepare even more effectively to ensure you address any concerns that individuals would like cleared up. 

Team Meeting Agenda Items

4Prepare for resistance

Any amount of change is met with some level of resistance, so it’s important that leadership is prepared for some amount of pushback from their team. While resistance is normal, it’s important that you be firm in your plans and take charge of the changes that need to be made. If there are instances where one or two particular individuals have significant issues with the changes that are being made in the business, be sure to organize a one-on-one meeting with these employees to drive commitment to the changes and ensure that everyone is on the same page. It’s better to address resistance right away, since small issues could grow into bigger problems that get in the way of the team’s productivity. 

5Remain open-minded 

Be sure to keep an open mind when you’re delivering news of changes to your team. Approach the situation with empathy and acknowledge that change can be difficult to accept. It’s important that you demonstrate to your team that you’re open to feedback and to questions they may have concerning the changes that are being made. Leaders also need to be open to some degree of compromise and willing to change some aspects concerning the way things will be done if needed. Take your team members’ advice and suggestions and put them into action where you can so they see that their opinions and ideas matter and don’t go unnoticed. 

6Repeat the idea 

Repetition is important when it comes to making changes within the business. Leaders can’t expect to say something once to their team and have everyone get on-board immediately. Simply saying something once will not result in people taking it seriously. That said, if you constantly repeat the changes that are to be made, individuals will start to believe the changes are actually going to happen. Making changes takes time and persistence, so you need to regularly and consistently repeat yourself and the company’s agenda. Rather than repeating yourself in the same way over and again, look for a variety of opportunities to plug-in the changes that are approaching so you can build some level of excitement. 

7Involve team members’ ideas 

One of the most important ways to obtain buy-in from your team is by involving their ideas and opinions in the decision-making. Doing so can be mutually beneficial since you can choose to assign tasks to individuals based on their interests and strengths. This way, team members are more likely to enjoy their involvement in achieving larger goals, and they’ll be more productive and effective in completing their responsibilities. Always provide space and time to listen to your employees’ feedback and clearly explain how each person’s involvement is essential for the success of the business. Wherever you can, involve your team members in defining the work that they will be undertaking, rather than delegating everything. 

8Build trust 

Trust is central to having your employees buy-in to changes within the business. In a recent interview on Fellow’s Supermanagers Podcast, Mark Hostman, the Co-Founder of Manager Tools, shares: 

“The single biggest predictor of management success is the score your direct reports give you when you ask them: how much do you trust your boss? If you get a high trust score, you’re going to be fine. If you get a low trust score, you’re gonna have to work really hard to even keep your head above water.”

On trust, Mark goes on to say: 

“if I trust the person in power, I tend to feel that they don’t have power so much as they have authority- and power is not necessarily a good thing. But authority, I respect authority, right? I don’t always respect power, particularly if it’s aligned against me. If you can turn that power into authority by spending time with people, the trust scores go up.” 

It’s clear that without trust, buy-in from your team will be extremely difficult to achieve. 

Parting advice 

This article has highlighted how to get buy-in from your team, particularly during times of change. All business processes are subject to change and actually require elements of the business to evolve for the business’ overall success. Change becomes difficult to face for employees who are comfortable with and accustomed to the way things are. For this reason, leadership needs to help employees feel reassured and confident in the decisions that are being made so the team can continue to work together to achieve its goals. While obtaining buy-in can be challenging at first, taking the company in a new direction is exciting and often provides great learning and growth opportunities for all involved.