How to Get Buy-In From Leadership
Do you have an amazing idea that will help your company succeed? Maybe you’ve pioneered a way to streamline a particular task, or perhaps you’ve identified a new and untapped market. Regardless, coming up with an amazing idea is only half the battle. The other half is getting buy-in from leadership. Without the metaphorical thumbs up from your company’s senior management, your idea will fade into the abyss. How do you get buy-in from leadership exactly?
What Is Buy-In?
Buy-in is defined as the approval or acceptance of a proposed idea. Therefore, getting buy-in from leadership means pitching your idea to one or more of your company’s leaders. You’ll have to explain how your idea can benefit the company as a whole. If they are convinced, the leader or leaders will approve it.
In the corporate world, leaders consist of executives and other senior management professionals. They are above all other managers. As leaders, they are responsible for making decisions on behalf of the company for which they work. And because they are decision-makers, leaders have the final say regarding new ideas.
Even if you work in a managerial position, you may have limited decision-making authority. Fortunately, obtaining buy-in offers a solution. You can approach leaders with your new idea to get their approval. If you’re successful, they’ll implement your idea so that it helps fuel your company’s growth.
Refine Your Idea
Before approaching leaders to obtain their buy-in, you should refine your idea. Obtaining buy-in is similar to selling. When selling a product or service, you’ll need to convince a prospective customer that it’s worth the cost for which it’s sold. When obtaining buy-in for an idea, you’ll have to convince one or more leaders that your idea worth the cost of implementing.
To increase your chances of getting buy-in, you should refine your idea. Unless your idea is clearly mapped out, leaders probably won’t approve it. Refining your idea means planning it in a way that clearly reveals how it can benefit your company and why it’s worth the cost of implementing.
Perfect Your Presentation
You should also perfect your presentation when seeking buy-in from leaders. Presentation, of course, is the process of explaining or presenting your new idea. It can make or break your efforts to obtain buy-in. When presented poorly, your idea will likely get rejected. Presenting your new idea neatly and well-structured will help you obtain buy-in.
Identify the Right Leaders
You’ll need to identify the right leaders when seeking buy-in. Depending on the size of your company, as well as how it’s structured, it may have over a dozen leaders. Some of these leaders may be busy with other projects. You should identify leaders who are open and willing to listen to new ideas.
When approaching a leader, ask if he or she has a minute to discuss your new idea. Most leaders will gladly hear your idea. After all, strong leaders want their company to succeed, so they are always open to suggestions from other managers and employees.
Explain the Finances
Don’t ignore the finances of your idea. New ideas typically cost money to implement. If a leader believes your idea is too much of a financial burden, he or she probably won’t approve it. Leaders will consider the financial impact of your new idea when determining whether to approve it. Assuming your new idea provides more financial value than the amount of money it costs to implement, they may approve it.
Explaining the finances will help you secure buy-in for your new idea. Try to estimate how much money it will cost your company to implement. At the same time, you should estimate the financial value of your new idea once implemented. If your new idea will generate more revenue for your company than its cost of implementation, leaders may approve it.
Offer Solutions to Potential Obstacles
New ideas often come with obstacles. If leaders implement your idea, it may create challenges for your company. Potential obstacles such as this can discourage leaders from buying into your new idea. They may assume that your new idea will be too difficult to implement or maintain, in which case they’ll reject it.
You’ll have a better chance at getting buy-in by offering solutions to potential obstacles. In other words, think about what obstacles may arise when your new idea is implemented. Next, come up with a solution to overcome each of these obstacles. When you approach leaders with your new idea, you can explain the potential obstacles and the solutions to them.
Seeking buy-in from leadership can be daunting. You want to make a positive impression so that leaders will approve your new idea. By following these tips, you can get your company’s leaders to green-light your new idea.