Team Buy-in vs. Team Commitment

Transcript: Truly one tricky thing about leading a firm, a creative services firm because it’s got a bunch of humans, and the way those things move forward is owners who give visions and directions and people follow and get the boat and all row in the same direction. That’s cool stuff. But one thing that confuses owners is getting buy in from your team. It’s like do you just tell them, “Do what I say?” Is that how you tell your team to lead you? Or do you say, “Hey, what do you think? Do you want to do this?” And that balance is hard. And man, when we consult with people, and even in our own firm, that’s something we’re always trying to figure out how to do right, because it’s humans, the leadership team are humans. And the team are humans. And everybody loves each other, ares about each other. They have their own wonderful desires and hopes for their lives and everything.

And so you’ve got to mesh those up in a company where everybody comes and agrees. I read a great EOS blog not long ago where it said you don’t need buy in from your team, you need commitment from your team. And that’s hard because there comes a point when the leaders and the owners work together, and their job is to go, “I think this is best for our company, so let’s design and lay out a path for our team. Let’s lay it out.”

And then you bring it to your team and you say, “Team, check this out, let’s go.” But there’s one way … you don’t just say, “Do you like this? If you like it, let’s go do it.” Because nobody’s going to … not everybody’s going to like it the way you like it as the owner. And so that’s a tricky thing, when owners are asking buy in from all the team, they’re asking let’s say buy in from like 15 people. All these people have different ideas. If you say give me buy in, they’re going to say, “Okay, I disagree.” Not everybody’s going to agree. That’s just not the way humans work.

So, you don’t approach a team with do you like it, or buy in, because not everybody’s going to buy in. They’re not going to think the same things you think. And that’s okay, you want those creative people on your team. So, what you do is you say we’re developing a path forward. Here’s where we are so far, give us some feedback and we’ll let you know when the final vision is laid out.
And so you can still go to your great creative caring team and get feedback, but you’ve got to be really clear with the words you use that the vision and the plan are the owner’s. The vision and the plan are the owner’s. And when you roll it out you say, “We’re rolling it out. Here’s the date.” Now, don’t roll it into a team without asking them for feedback or letting them know you want those benefits from your create creative team. But also when you roll it out it’s like, “We’re ready guys. We’re now all going to do it.” And now what you want from them is commitment, and that’s what this great blog post talked about. It talked about commitment as opposed to buy in, because buy in is not something you can have from a bunch of creative people. They all have their own ideas. They’re bought into what they think, they’re not bought in necessarily to what you think.

So, you don’t want to approach them that way. You want to say, “When this is ready, I’m going to need your commitment. And the path forward is going to be laid out, I want your commitment to take your role in that path so we can all go do a great thing together.” So, just wanted to share that buy in versus commitment. Buy in is not something you can have, because not every creative human can buy in at the same level, it just can’t happen. But commitment is something you can have, and commitment can be voiced with I’m ready to do it. There’s parts I may not like or agree with. And truly the owner can say, “Me too. There’s parts of the path forward that I don’t even agree with. But it is the right path to care for clients in the market that we’ve targeted to serve with our skills and the things we’re offering. So, let’s go do that thing and let’s all make a commitment to our part in making our firm successful.”

So, buy in versus commitment, two different things, and maybe that’s a path forward to help you when you lay out your vision and give that to the team so they can go kick butt in the future. I hope that helps, thanks for watching, we’ll see you.

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