Want Buy-In? Give Them Hope as well as Help

“In my heart and soul, I knew I wasn’t answering the fundamental question of why the world needs this company to be successful.” ~ R.J. Scaringe, CEO, Rivian

Ominous statement. Why would a CEO care about the ‘why of the world’? Isn’t a strategy enough? If we are producing a good product or service, isn’t that enough? No.

When rolling out a new strategy, employees first consider self interest, or what’s in it for them. They ask, “Will it help me?”. To get buy-in, leaders must demonstrate how the challenge of change will be rewarded with improvement for the individual. But what if your change doesn’t necessarily help employees? What if there will be an extended period of hardship while the company restructures or pursues a brand new line of business?

You can still win them over because more employees are looking beyond tangible help to the intangibles of purpose and meaning. Will the accomplishment of this strategy be personally fulfilling? These are matters of heart. When employees can connect the dots between what they do and positive results for customers and community, they more easily overlook personal hardship.

There’s even more you can offer to employees to generate buy-in: HOPE.

When I coach leaders to speak about their strategies and initiatives, I strongly recommend that they tell a story that paints a vivid picture of the future. Describe people that they can relate to, whose lives are changed dramatically in the future. Demonstrate how the environment is enhanced or the world is a better place because of your strategy. Why are people smiling 5 years later because of your strategy?

Your strategy needs everyone on board. Stack the deck in your favour. Launch your initiative with a strong offer to Help, strengthen the Heart, and extend Hope. Tell the story!