Buy-in is very much a 21st century word.
I grew up in Akron Oh when Akron was rubber capital of the world. Firestone, Goodyear, Goodrich, General and the world made tires in Akron. We were taught in elementary school that Akron was the tire capital of the world. And then we were not.I doubt very much whether the CEO’s of the tire companies cared about buy-in.
In school, one day a student would be sitting in their assigned seat next to you and the next day they would be gone. The Firestone or Goodyear father was transferred to Philadelphia or the Philippines. It didn’t matter much; the family went wherever the working dad was told to go.
Today every member of the family would get a vote including the family dog. The CEO’s of the tire companies created a country club so they could hobnob with each other. They didn’t want to be bothered with the average person or employee. Buy-in was not in the vocabulary. Buy-in is very much a 21st century concept.
But what does it mean?
Buy-in for one company may be very different than buy-in for a different company. What do you need to have buy-in? Do you need a unanimous decision, a majority, consensus, or simply the coalition of the willing?
Perhaps you already have buy-in and don’t know it because you think you need more agreement than is actually required to move forward. While nice in some respects, a unanimous decision does not deliver any different outcome than a majority decision.
When I showed horses, at Nationals there were either 3 or 5 judges. Sometimes the results for the winner would be unanimous. The announcer would announce just that, that the decision was unanimous BUT it didn’t change the decision. A National Champion was a National Champion whether they won by one vote or 5.
Think of seating on an airplane.
You may prefer a window seat or an aisle seat. The general consensus is that you don’t want a seat in the middle. Consensus means it is not your first choice, but you can live with it. Perhaps that is all you need to move forward. You think you want 100% buy-in or the most enthusiastic response. Remember, you are National Champion whether you win by one vote or five.That brings us to the coalition of the willing.
Perhaps all you need is a coalition of those willing to buy-in and move forward. Perhaps you can begin to move mountains with a few people. That bucket of water overflows by catching one drop at a time. Look at what you can accomplish with a few rather than looking at those that are not on-board. We don’t always get what we want. But we will be more likely to get what we want if we know our objective. In this case, you need to know how to reach your objective.
Perhaps you need a few of the willing and you operate as though you need a unanimous decision. Remember, whether by a vote or a village, you are still the National Champion.
Leslie is a contributing blogger for JenningsWire. Read more posts by Leslie Ungar here.
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