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ProductCamp, Buy-In, and Change Management

Submitted by on Monday, 29 March 2010

On Saturday, I attended Austin ProductCamp and ran a session called: How to Get Buy-In for Strategic Product Decisions

We had around 75 eager, excited people attending. I handed out a list of 11 tasks necessary for a successful implementation, and asked the participants to order them, assuming they’d focus on getting the announcement data and initiative data correct, rather than starting with people- buy-in. Three lucky folks won a copy of Dirty Little Secrets because they began where I suggest: briefly discuss the proposed change to get folks thinking and begin eliciting new ideas and feedback.

In fact, my entire presentation was based on change management. How does the status quo accept and welcome change? How do we get the sort of buy-in that will

  • welcome creativity and leadership from all users, not just the top tier,
  • quell fears,
  • manage problems before they get large (and hopefully dispel them at the start),
  • recognize what success and failure should look like each step of the way,
  • maintain a workable, flexible change environment,
  • manage resisters respectfully and use their issues to create new possibilities for the proposed change.

During my presentation (see slides below) I spent quite a bit of time explaining exactly why Information does not teach people how to make a decision: so many of our change initiatives begin with the assumption that with rational, accurate, appropriate data, presented in the right way, that folks are supposed to buy-in.

And we all know what happens: at least 80% of our change initiatives have a large unsuccessful component.  Why? Because people have their own way of interpreting change, or managing their own unconscious belief issues, or deciding on steps they want to take regardless of what they are being told, or hearing what is being said.

We have not had the tools or skills to help people get on board before we begin the initiative.

My presentation, as shown below on my slides, explains how to enlist buy-in from the ground up. I’ve included a worksheet to enumerate for yourself: print it off, and rank each of the 11 tasks in the order you do them. Then ask yourself the Facilitative Questions on slide 2. After the slide show, there is my hierarchy of tasks. Take a look at the order I placed the tasks in, and see how they differ from yours.

Note: this is the same hierarchy of tasks that need to be addressed during any change management initiative.

Let’s start a dialogue on Buy-In. I look forward to discussing this with you. Hear me discuss this on a live webinar on Linked In Group: Corporate Planning and Global Industry Segmentation group, that will take place at 1:30 ET.

sd

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