How to Get Buy-in for Your Ideas

Published: Jan 24, 2019

Every day you influence your peers, your manager and others with whom you work. The trick is to influence them positively, to get buy-in to your ideas and projects. Here are some ways to win over your colleagues:

  • Develop and practice a team-oriented outlook. Demonstrate a collaborative, cooperative attitude to your colleagues.
  • Treat people with respect. Even if you are the personal assistant of one of the top executives in your organization, don't pull rank over other assistants.
  • Find out what motivates people and use your knowledge to enhance team performance.
  • Deal with differences with peers directly—don't appeal to your manager and others above you to exert their influence. Not only will that alienate your peers but it will keep you from developing your own influence.
  • Understand workplace barter. Workplaces run on a formal or informal exchange of unique skills. You have some, your boss has some, your peers have some, and they are all different.
  • Deploy your unique resources to do favors for others, ensuring that you can call on others' unique skills in return. Be sure to find out what are each person’s strong points. Also find ways you can help others, to make sure you have access to their talent in the future.

Learn to use your powers of persuasion to improve your chances of getting people to say “yes.” Maximize your power by using a combination of:

  • Legitimacy. Only present information for which you have considerable evidence from credible sources. Presenting the information in the form of a report will add to its weight.

  • Precedent. If your idea has worked in the past under similar circumstances, mention it. Point to successful pilot projects.

  • Facts. Gather buy-in individually from as many people as possible before generalizing an idea, and collect evidence to demonstrate their support.

  • Expertise. Demonstrate that you are an expert in your field—your knowledge will add to your influence. Or bring in a recognized expert to add legitimacy to your idea.

  • Rank . Get your boss’s input on your idea. If he or she feels ownership of it, the positive opinion will carry heavy influence.

  • Passion. Your enthusiasm will impress those around you to take a second look at your idea.

  • Persistence. Don't give up on a great idea. Your tenacity will ultimately wear down the opposition.

Copyright 2004 Cy Charney. Excerpted, by permission of the publisher, from The Instant Manager by Cy Charney. Published by AMACOM, a division of American Management Association.