Leaders value buy-in to their team or organization’s direction. The assurance that those you lead have bought-in brings a leader reassurance. It gives hope to the leader that he or she actually influences the direction of the team or organization towards success. To know that those you lead have bought-in, you have to know what buy-in looks like.
If you want to evaluate whether those you lead have bought-in, there are three observations that will provide insight.
- Team members share responsibility
Assuming responsibility for results that support the defined direction is a key indicator that team members have bought-in. Shared responsibility can be observed in individual and group decision making. When individuals make decisions that support the direction of the team or organization without requiring feedback from a leader or co-worker, they are expressing buy-in. The team has bought in when discussions, reports, and group decisions intentionally drive for results that direct movement down the defined path.
- Team members support one another
When a people buy-into a direction that results in shared responsibility, they support one another in getting there. Individualism goes “out the window.” When you, as a leader, observe people supporting one another because they recognize the cumulative result of their work, they have bought into the direction of the team as well as the organization.
- Team members contributing resources
Contributing the minimum or the basic requirements does not reflect buy-in. People express buy-in with contribution beyond the basic expectations. When a leader observes people exceeding expectations, and at times acting sacrificially, they are bought-in. Resources can include time, expertise, budget, or space.
Buy-in’s benefits are not difficult to measure short or long-term. In the short-term strategies are successful as measured by goal achievement at all levels. In the long term, vision becomes reality by creating value, the visible evidence of sustainability. The leaders challenge becomes defining direction and communicating it in an organization designed to engender buy-in. Do the people in your organization and on your team have a clear direction to buy into?