They say yes. That it’s a great idea. I have all the buy-in I need, even from people higher up in the organisation. But nothing ever happens!

She was very frustrated and who can blame her? 

We all want support for our ideas. Create new things, shape our field of expertise, make an impact in this world. 

And just like her, we do all the right things:

  • identify the important stakeholders
  • give well-prepared presentations
  • collect supporting data and show that this truly is a great idea
  • keep engaging with people one-on-one

And from all the effort, it seems we get the buy-in when people say “yes”.

But then nothing happens and we wonder why. We feel infuriated and irritated agt the same time. Why? Why is nothing happening?

When you’re in this situation, you might think people just don’t get it. That you have to explain it again (even though everyone’s been nodding throughout your presentation). Or maybe company politics is in the way and there are hidden agendas at play.

And that might be the case. Sometimes you have to explain it again and other times there are things going on in the background.

But most of the time, the mistake you’re making is stopping at “yes”.

You see, if you think getting a “yes” from your audience is enough, you try to solve the problem by 

  • getting more people in the room and on board
  • giving more presentations or writing more emails
  • you spend all your time engaging with people one-on-one
  • you even take it up a level to try to get support from senior management
  • maybe you even try to use a more assertive style for your communication.

Those tactics are important, but what you overlook is that getting to yes doesn’t matter unless you align the how as well!

Just like when I work with my clients. During a coaching session they often generate tremendous insight and great solutions. But I know (from personal experience as well), that this insight isn’t enough. We need to define clear action steps at the end of a coaching session. Only then they will implement and change starts to happen.

It’s the same for you and your stakeholders. First work at getting the yes and the buy-in for your ideas. But before you leave the room or end the conversation, make sure you capture precisely how your ideas are going to be implemented and who will own which part.

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