Getting Others to "Buy In"


More good plans in church have failed for lack of ownership than any other reason. There is an oldadage that says, "People get down on what they are not up on." When others understand, they often agree. Therefore it is of utmost importance that you pursue agreement as a primary value. If you simply tell others about your priorities they are likely to treat the ideas with about as much interest as "National Smile Week". They may not fight you but neither will they "get on board" with a sense of mission.

Since mission is what this process is all about, do your best to bring people along. Where they show disagreement at first, give them room to change their mind while saving face. If you have a confrontation with those who are slow to agree, you have even less of a chance of winning them over in time.

1.  Create low-level involvement first. "Could I ask you to read this and give me your opinion?"

2.  Based on a mild or positive response, you gain a low-level commitment. "Could I ask you to share this with George and get his feedback for me?"

3.  Based on an affirmative approach ask for a tentative higher commitment. "If we were to have an information meeting on this would you be willing to participate?"

4.  The next move is to set up a time. Make it at least a month in advance. Give a personal invitation. "We are taking a personal approach with a limited number of people to get a commitment to attend an information meeting next month. We are thinking about Tuesday the 12th. Could we count on you for an hour that evening?"

5.  Keep the involvement level rising by small increments. "Would you mind calling Harry to tell him about the meeting? I will see that someone else follows up on him."

6.  Keep the progress in small increments. We make the big mistake of asking, "Would you be willing to carry the ball?" far too soon.

7.  After your information meeting keep the same approach to let people "buy in" without them ever realizing they made a big decision to being involved. When they say, "One thing led toanother" you have it right.