Sameer Agarwal

His views, thoughts, introspection and rants

Getting buy-in

with 3 comments

I thought I was a master at that. But today we could not get buy-in for an internal project that we wanted to drive. We thought it was a great idea and people will jump off their seats. But that did not happen. Here’s some introspection on what we could have done better:

  • The team selling the idea should have spoken the same language. There were three of us trying to sell an idea to a team of about 25 people and we were not on the same page. Probably because we were overconfident about the merit of the idea.
  • Better planned. We came with a slide deck but we started using the whiteboard. It is a great idea to use the whiteboard but not when half the people have joined on the phone.
  • Positioned it right. We did not position the idea correctly. It came across as too much work even though in reality it is not.
  • Identified people who could have influenced. Typically in large groups there are a few people who can influence the rest. We did not make an effort to get a buy-in from them and then present to a larger group. Eventually the people who could have been influencers were actually the most vocal against the idea.  

Not given up though. I’ll figure out what to do hopefully..

Written by sameer

May 16th, 2008 at 6:08 pm

3 Responses to 'Getting buy-in'

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  1. Just one more observation….proposing a new idea on a Friday evening at the end of the day while everybody is just waiting to ‘switch-off’ from work, could have been a minor factor. Saw a few checking their watches in between… :o )


    16 May 08 at 6:16 pm

  2. It is true… especially the last point “Identified people who could have influenced”.


    16 May 08 at 6:39 pm

  3. Completely agree on the points above. I think more than all the above, what really sells an idea is a planning process where one thoroughly assesses the possible drawbacks of the idea, the benefits and weighs out the benefits against drawbacks and presents the same. If in a case where an unexpected scenario crops up, rather than debate on the scenario, accept the possible drawback, but weigh it against the potential benefit. For eg, extra time reqd for any new idea is a perfectly acceptable drawback, but to counter that we need to highlight the benefits of that extra effort beyond the execution period. If this exercise takes 12 hours more in 3 months it will pay back by taking that much less in the future cause you would have sold the idea of iKnow to everyone through this :) .

    Selling any new idea isn’t easy. There always will be some that will oppose :)


    19 May 08 at 10:14 am

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