POV: Get the Boss to Buy In

Get the Boss to Buy In

Point-of-View: Get the Boss to Buy In

Harvard Business Review (HBR) January/February 2015


  • Organizations don’t prosper unless managers in the middle ranks promote the need for change. Yet for many reasons they may not voice their ideas and concerns.
  • Most managers struggle to sell their ideas to executives at the top. They find it difficult to raise issues early and be invited to have conversations at a “strategic” level.
  • Managers must time & tailor their pitch to key stakeholders, frame & align the issues/problems to organizational priorities, suggest solutions, build consensus, play to politics, and manage emotions (theirs & others).
  • Managers must answer two questions: How important is this to my organization? And how important is it to me?
  • There is more to a pitch than a big presentation and a yea-or-nay decision.  Creating and enabling multiple campaigns is essential to ensure success.
  • Don’t assume your immediate boss can or will want to carry the message. Volunteer to be “shoulder to shoulder” in the pitch or at least be available as a resource to help prepare them.
  • Successfully bringing forward issues/problems worth solving requires passion and discipline. Done correctly means organizational and personal success!

Our Point of View:

  • Selling initiatives (reason for change) as an “internal champion” (employee) or as an “external champion” (vendor) is exactly the same.
  • Internal champions lack the decision-making standards (mind-set, skill-set, tool-set) to “get and keep” the attention of senior executives throughout their assessment process.
  • External champions (vendors) are only as good as their internal champion’s “ability to sell”.
  • Decision-making standards eliminate variation and the waste of time, people, resources, and capital.
  • Forward thinking/acting vendors recognize their “internal champions” need assistance and are sharing decision-making standards to help them “get and keep” the attention of their senior executives.
  • Internal champions react to vendors offering decision-making standards in two ways: they openly accept them OR they reject (dismiss) them. Both reactions produce a win-win outcome!
  • Outcome #1 – Use of collaborative decision-making standards accelerates AND improves the JOINT odds of internal/external success throughout the assessment process.
  • Outcome #2 – Rejecting the use of collaborative decision-making standards sends a clear “leading indicator” to help qualify the reality & readiness of investing time and resources.

pdfGet the Boss to Buy In

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