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Create Buy-In


The Turn it Around Strategy Creates Buy-In from your team.

It’s especially useful for scheduling or design meetings where you want your team to commit to assignments and deadlines.

I first used it to get buy-in for a technical schedule.

I now use it to encourage team members to volunteer to take on tasks.

Useful When:

  • You want your team to take ownership of a project
  • You find you have to micromanage your team if you want them to accomplish anything
  • You want feedback from your team about issues or decisions
  • You want to beat your deadlines

It creates an environment where:

People participate in the discussions and commit to the plan’s success.

How it Works:

1. Do Your Homework

Sit down and figure out a schedule or design.

Think through issues and dependencies.

Come up with a plan.

2. Leave Your Notes in your Office

Attend the scheduling or design meeting without your notes.

Tell no one that you already have a plan.

That’s your secret as a leader.

3. Start the Meeting with a Warm-Up

You need to give people permission to participate.

Use Helping Hands, Zip-Zap-Zop, or Get To Know You.

Run the warm up until you get a good group laugh.

4. Facilitate the Meeting using Questions

Start the discussion with “our goal is to come up with a plan to …. What’s the first step?”

If you are concerned about the direction of the discussion, get it back on track with an open-ended question:

“Following this line of thinking, how do our customers experience what happens next?”

“Have you thought about the situation where …?”

“What else do we need to cover?”

5. Celebrate the Result

There are two usual results to this process.

1. The resulting plan is within 5% of your plan from step 1.

2. People volunteer to take on assignments, tasks, and next steps based on their interests and abilities.

More Details

Permission to Participate

The most common approach is to present your own ideas and then ask for feedback.

This never works.

It’s an act of courage to share an idea in a group setting.

When you present your ideas first:

  • It’s hard for people to think of additional ideas.
  • It sounds like you don’t want any feedback.
  • Other people don’t get the time to think through the issues.

Start with a warm-up.

Give your team permission to participate.

Then facilitate their thinking process.

Keeping your plan a secret empowers your team to take ownership of the plan.

And that creates buy-in.

Leaders Never Share Ideas

It’s difficult to keep your great plans a secret.

It’s also crucial to your success as a leader.

Once you share your plan,

It’s your plan and not your team’s,

And you are the only one who has bought-in.

What if my Team’s Plan Won’t Work?

Ask questions:

“What will happen if the customer tries …?”

“How will team A and team B coordinate these activities?”

“How will our customers experience the result of this plan?”

Your job is to empower your team to create a good plan.

If you tell them it’s not a good plan they’ll resent you.

If you help them discover the issues with their plan, they’ll create a better one.

Part of your job is to teach them how to create a good plan.


It seems like it takes longer to develop a plan this way.

Except that when you have buy-in on the plan, you won’t need to manage as much.

A team that has bought in is much more likely to meet their goals.

Your job is to clear obstacles out of their way.

Instead of having to berate them to meet their deadlines.


I’m working on a software development schedule.

I get it just the way I like it.

And leave it in my office when I go to the scheduling meeting.

My office is across campus, so it doesn’t make sense to go back for it.

So I lead a quick warm-up and run the meeting as though I don’t have anything prepared.

My team is more engaged than I have ever seen them.

Raising issues

Volunteering for assignments

Pushing each other to be better.

And managing the project is a breeze.

People bring issues to me.

Teammates help each other through their challenges.

Everyone pitches in to get it done.

How do you get buy-in from your team?

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