The Secret to Getting Your Ideas Embraced by Others
Have you ever had a best practice you know is great but you just can’t get others to give it a chance? Or have you returned from a conference or meeting with valuable new ideas only to have them shut down before they are fully understood? Are you frustrated with your efforts to lead change and wish you knew the secrets to getting new ideas adopted?
Any new idea or best practice is change – and change is messy, uncomfortable, and generally resisted. However, there are a few fundamentals that will help you succeed at creating buy-in and shared ownership to what you want embraced.
Know the ABCs
When we are energized by an idea, we tend to enthusiastically share without filtering and prioritizing what will help it be accepted. This leaves our listeners with misguided interpretations of the idea’s impact and wondering what the change means to them. The only way to prevent this is to know the ABCs of your idea before you share it and then structure your communication appropriately:
- ACTIVITIES: WHAT is the activity or behavior the change will require? As soon as an idea is expressed, the listener begins determining what will be expected of them, but what they assume is usually incorrect. To ensure they get the right expectations, you must be prepared to share the few high-impact implementation actions.
- BELIEFS: WHY is the idea a good one? Getting someone to buy in requires they understand why the idea is valuable. Be ready to proactively explain the benefits as well as share evidence and/or proof of the idea’s merit.
- COMMITMENT: What is the PAYOFF for the individual if they do adopt the new idea? The idea may be great for your company or customers, but until the individual sees what is in it for them, it’s unlikely they will be willing to engage. Take the time to make sure the individual knows how the idea could positively impact them.
Communicate the Focus
Knowing the ABCs first allows you to then be compelling when communicating the key fundamentals (focus) of your idea. Be clear and concise describing what activities are involved, your belief about why the activities are valuable, and the payoff of a commitment. Communicate the ABCs one-on-one – everyone will have unique objections or concerns which must be addressed to create the necessary willingness and readiness to move forward.
Commitment to implementing an idea is not enough to ensure it gets done. Attention needs to be given to keeping people focused, motivated, and accountable to executing the activities they agreed to do. This, again, is where your leadership is vital. You must be the champion, providing critical fuel for your idea to build momentum. Follow three simple fundamentals to Driving Execution:
- Reinforce expectations: Adoption of any new idea or expectation requires continuous reinforcement, even if you’ve obtained a high level of commitment. Find a way to keep the commitment top of mind for everyone involved.
- Recognize progress: Most everyone needs frequent positive encouragement when trying something new. Make sure people are positively recognized for their effort, progress, and/or commitment to the idea or expectation to avoid having them give up or quit. Instead they will be inspired to stay with it.
- Challenge inaction: Implementation of new ideas will always encounter resistance or someone not doing what they’ve agreed to do. Don’t let the behaviors of some create a downward trend. The moment you see the problem, positively challenge the individual by simply asking why they are not doing what they agreed to do. Take the time to explore their reasons, gaining insight into barriers hindering their actions and then work with them to address those barriers. You’ll quickly get the idea or expectation back on track.
Want your idea embraced? Take the lead by demonstrating your belief and commitment to the idea, communicating the ABCs, and sharing ownership and accountability for its implementation. Do your part in Driving Execution and watch how fast others follow suit. Ideas that get championed get integrated!