Violating the Law of Buy-In

The Law of Buy-In was highlighted in the best-selling book by Dr. John Maxwell, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. It simply states that people buy into the leader first, then the vision. The leader finds the dream and then the people. The people find the leader, and then the dream. People don’t first follow worthy causes. They follow worthy leaders who promote worthwhile causes. I was on a meeting whose purpose is to educate employees on the changes that will take place due to a new service agreement that was underway between my company and their client. The first thing I noticed was that not everybody was keen on listening. This is when I’ve learned a very important lesson in leadership apart from the law of buy-in: “To measure the morale of your staff, observe their behavior during one of your most important meetings. If they are apathetic, their morale is very low. If they are very energetic and excited, their morale is high.” This new service agreement is probably the most important thing that would ever happen to this organization. But, sad as it may seem, the staff didn’t really care much. There was no participation, no discussion, even questions raised. The reason for that is probably because the staff felt betrayed. The service agreement was crafted without the staff being considered, which happens to be a very important aspect since it would be their responsibility to provide those services in the future. Plus, the highlight of fear and anxiety was floating in the air. Instead of highlighting how the entire organization would benefit from the service agreement, much more was said about the penalties if the agreement was violated. In fact, one staff even mentioned about the management not trusting the staff on certain aspects and the one delivering the meeting just said a blunt “yes.” It may sound pathetic but who would want to work for an organization who does not trust its employees? I believe that it is a great plan with very noble causes which I also believe in but the one delivering the meeting failed to understand that in order to make the people do what needed to be done, they have to be motivated. This pointed out another important leadership lesson I have learned today: “The message is nearly not as important as the one delivering it.” Communication is the key to the Law of Buy-In and, in this case, the nobility of the cause was not highlighted, thereby, causing the staff to simply ignore the message. Even I didn’t bother listening during the meeting because I felt that it would only deter my commitment to my organization. But my experience earlier today simply pointed out how not to be a leader in every sense of the word. Make it a point that you, as a leader, would first reach out to your staff and make them buy in to you before letting them buy in to the vision. Once you’ve manage to do that, communicate the vision properly so as to further gain their support and eventually cause everyone to move in the same direction.

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