Byron's Babbles

Hatching Change

One of the things I am always saying is that I do not like the words, “buy-in.” It has been my experience that if you have to go get buy-in for some new initiative or change, you have already failed. Done correctly, the buy-in should happen organically as the change or initiative is being planned. As Ken Blanchard said in Simple Truth #22, “People Who Plan The Battle Rarely Battle The Plan” of Simple Truths of Leadership: 52 Ways To Be A Servant Leader and Build Trust, Making Common Sense Common Practice by Ken Blanchard and Randy Conley, “…people have a hard time getting behind an organizational change effort they have had no part in creating” (p. 61). That’s why I am such a believer in the Vantage Points Model (MG Taylor Corporation). The Vantage Point Model reminds us that we should gather as many stakeholders from different points of view as possible (philosophy, culture, policy, strategy, tactics, logistics, and tasks). Blanchard went on to tell us that, “When they [people] can play a part in implementing the plan and are allowed to express their concerns and contribute their ideas and feedback, they are more likely to align behind the plan and help accomplish it” (p. 61). Thus my point about “buy-in.”

If we have been inclusive during incubation phase of the change process or initiative building, then there should already be buy-in because it was the group’s initiative to start with. If all those with a stake in the change or new initiative have been represented this will get us to a better product in the end. I have witnessed initiatives in schools fail, that were good ideas, because teachers and/or students were left out of the incubation phase. After the hatching the change or initiative I heard, “That was a good idea, but failed because no-one asked the ones (teachers) that would be implementing it. We could have told them to do x, y, and z and it would have worked.” There were so many times when I was a teacher or principal that we had some school process we needed to correct or create and almost every time that we got stuck trying to figure it out, it was the students who would come up with the solution that actually worked.

So next time you need to hatch change, don’t forget to gather representatives from all groups that will be affected by the change.

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