management buy in

Getting Management Buy In

Management Buy In is Missing

When you have a great idea for your organization, but management is not supportive, it can be very frustrating. What should you do?  In this case situation, we’ll explore the issue and give you some actionable suggestions on how to attain management buy in.

The Situation

You are a middle manager at a beverage distribution company, and you have an idea for a process change that will save your company up to $100,000 a year.  Your boss is always interested in proposals that will contribute to the bottom line. Her style is fast-paced, hardworking, and demanding.

Getting Your Ducks in a Row

To ensure high receptivity from your boss, you schedule your presentation at an opportune time. You prepare carefully, with a clear presentation and support materials to help her understand the concept.

Your presentation begins well, and your boss is engaged in the conversation. At one point, she asks a cost question, and you had an answer already prepared. Your boss says, “Good, you’ve got the numbers!”

Getting Buy In

However, a bit later, when your boss asks where the company will get the two additional people who are needed to make the plan work, you say, “I thought they could come from our other location.” Now, she reacts strongly. “No, no, we’re not getting involved with our other location. If it hinges on that, I don’t know ….”

You have hit some resistance.  How should you try to attain management buy in?

How Do You Get People to Buy In?

Your boss’ receptivity has taken a visible hit. What is the best way to proceed?

A. Don’t let your boss’ reaction throw you. Offer to fix it and stay on track.

B. Stop the presentation and offer to meet again after revising your plan.

C. Stop to question your boss to work out an acceptable solution.

How to Get Management Buy In

The Q4 Answer to Generating Buy In

Hi, I’m Lynn Hayes, and I am a certified facilitator for Leadership Through People Skills. I also know the answer to the question. But first I would like to talk more about receptivity.

Raising the Boss’ Receptivity

Receptivity is the willingness to listen and work with some else to make an interaction productive. It ebbs and flows like a wave depending on the topic and the conversation you are having. So, it is really important you are checking receptivity throughout a conversation. Receptivity affects another person’s willingness to listen. High receptivity means high willingness. Low receptivity, well, you know what that means. So, the answer here would be C.

Gaining Management Buy In

If your boss has an objection or is not receptive to what you are saying, its not a good idea to just plow through your content. Now is the time to stop and do some receptivity checking. First thing you should do is use a reflective statement. Say something like, ‘hey, that last thing I just said didn’t seem to sit with you very well.’ And then wait. You might get more feedback then you were asking for, but it’s a good time to get everything out in the open. Additionally, after you’ve had the opportunity to check receptivity with your boss, the next thing out might do would be to ask a good open-ended question. Something like, ‘What additional information you might need in order to move forward with this plan?’ And then wait. You’ll get information and then at that point, you’ll be able to move forward with the conversation.

Create Buy In by Showing What’s in it for Her

One last thing I always like to remind people of though, is the most important check for receptivity is to make sure they know what is in it for them. And in this case, remember that hundred thousand dollars’ worth of cost saving you offered the boss earlier in the conversation? This would be a great time to remind her of what a feather in her cap it would be if that hundred-thousand-dollar cost savings becomes a reality. Thank you for listening.

Now That You Have Mastered Management Buy In…

Now that you are an expert at getting management buy in, here are some additional resources.

Check out other leadership tips on how to handle various challenging work situations.

Take our Do You Work with a Difficult Person Quiz to get tips on handling your situation.

Learn about our Q4 Leadership: The People Skills Advantage workshop–available live or virtual.

Thanks, Lynne! If you loved this reminder, don’t forget to sign up for more leadership tips from our experts.

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