Get That Buy-In.


’Tis the season to start setting New Year’s resolutions. Every year, I set several personal goals, but this year, I want to set a few resolutions for my work, too. Here’s the third and final resolution:

I’m really excited about something that’s happening at work this month: Several members of my team are moving on to bigger roles at the company.

I’m absolutely thrilled for them. They’re worked so hard, and they’re going to continue to do amazing work that shapes the future of our company. They’ve got big opportunities ahead of them.

But before we finalize these new roles — or before my team launches any new projects this year — I have to keep my final 2017 work resolution in mind: Before you start, you have to get that buy-in.

Here’s what I mean: Every decision has a handful of stakeholders involved. You’ve got bosses who need to approve things, direct reports who need to get on board with the next steps, and colleagues who can help move a decision along. But before you can make a big decision, you have to get all necessary parties to buy in to the idea.

I’m a believer that many of the headaches that happen at an office could be resolved if managers did a better job of getting buy-in at the start of a big decision. Before anything else happens, you’ve got to sit down with the key parties and listen to them. You have to figure out what they want, and how you can help them. You have to make it known that you’re going to work hard — and work with them — to find a solution that works for everyone.

Once everyone lays their cards on the table, it becomes a lot easier to move forward with a decision. Getting buy-in means that you’re invested in everyone else’s success, and they’re invested in yours. When you get to that place, it changes everything about the way a decision gets made.

Buy-in takes work. It’s a lot of one-on-ones over coffee, and a lot of asking questions. But it can also get obstacles out of your way early on and allow you to focus on making the right decisions for your team. It’s an important and necessary step.

Get that buy-in, and you’ll get things done.