I’m not a big fan of the concept of "buy-in." Most of the time when leaders talk about buy-in, they are referring to a kind of torquing of the will of the employee. When it comes to some new part of the vision, they want the employee to "get on board" with as little resistance as possible–and do it in as little time as possible. Sound (and feels a lot like manipulation).

With that in mind, last night I was teaching a group of MBA student’s Kotter’s change model, that details out 8 steps critical to any organizational transformation. I like much of what the model represents. The fourth step in the model is, "communicate for buy-in." My student’s chimed in, "Hey you’re not a big fan of the concept of buy-in right? So what do you think about Kotter’s idea.

At that point, I read them an excerpt from Kotter’s book, The Heart of Change. This snippet comes from the section on communicating for buy-in. Here is the snippet I read:

When it comes to change in an organization,

"You need to show people something that addresses their anxieties, that accepts their anger, that is credible in a very gut-level sense, and that evokes faith in the vision" (p. 84).

Now that’s a kind of buy-in I can handle.