Buy-in: Saving Your Good Idea from Getting Shot Down

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You believe in a good idea. You know it could make a crucial difference for you, your organization, your community. You present it, hoping for enthusiastic support. Instead, you get confounding questions, inane comments, and verbal bullets. Before you know what’s hit you, your idea is dead, shot down.

It doesn’t have to be this way, say John Kotter and Lorne Whitehead. In Buy-In, they reveal how to protect good ideas and win the support needed to deliver valuable results. The ...

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Buy-In: Saving Your Good Idea from Getting Shot Down

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Overview

You believe in a good idea. You know it could make a crucial difference for you, your organization, your community. You present it, hoping for enthusiastic support. Instead, you get confounding questions, inane comments, and verbal bullets. Before you know what’s hit you, your idea is dead, shot down.

It doesn’t have to be this way, say John Kotter and Lorne Whitehead. In Buy-In, they reveal how to protect good ideas and win the support needed to deliver valuable results. The key? Understand the unfair attack strategies that naysayers, nitpickers, and handwringers deploy with great success time and time again:
* Death by delay: Endlessly putting off or diverting discussion of your idea until all momentum is lost
* Confusion: Presenting so much distracting information that confidence in your proposal dies
* Fear mongering: Stirring up irrational anxieties about your idea
* Character assassination: Undermining your reputation and credibility

Through the device of a fresh and amusing fictional narrative, the authors vividly show how avoiding or attempting to quash attackers doesn’t work. According to their counterintuitive approach, it’s far better to respectfully engage these adversaries and stand your ground with simple, convincing responses that save the day. By “inviting in the lions” to critique your idea, and preparing yourself for what they’ll throw at you, you’ll capture busy people’s attention. You’ll help them grasp your proposal’s value. And you’ll secure their commitment to implementing the solution — winning their minds and hearts.

Smart, practical, and brimming with useful advice, Buy-In equips you to anticipate attacks and turn them to your advantage — so your good idea survives to make a positive change.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781441872302
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio
  • Publication date: 10/6/2010
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged, 4 CDs, 4 hrs. 24 min.
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.10 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

John P. Kotter is the Konosuke Matsushita Professor of Leadership, Emeritus, at Harvard Business School, and is widely regarded as the world’s foremost authority on leadership and change. His has been the premier voice on how the best organizations actually do change.

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Read an Excerpt

Preface

Most people skip Prefaces (occasionally feeling guilty as they do so) because they are not particularly interested in an introduction to a book, its history, any research behind it, or the writers. If you are a skipper, just flip to page 13. And don’t feel guilty.

We have all experienced the basic problem addressed here, and in a very personal way, because it is an old, common, human, and increasingly important problem. You need sufficient support for a good idea or the right decision will not be accepted and implemented well. You or your allies present the plan. You present it well. Then, along with thoughtful issues being raised, come the confounding questions, inane comments, and verbal bullets—either directly at you or, even worse, behind your back. It matters not that the idea clearly makes sense. It matters not that the idea is needed, insightful, innovative, and logical. It matters not even if the issues involved are extremely important to a business, an individual, or even a nation. The proposal is still shot down, accepted but without sufficient support to gain all of its true benefits, or slowly dies a sad death.

You’ve been there, both on and off the job. It can be maddening. You can end up flustered, embarrassed, or furious. All those who would benefit from the idea lose. You lose. In an extreme case, a whole company or nation may lose. And, as we shall demonstrate in this book, it doesn’t have to be that way.

The argument put forth here, summarized simply, is this:

1. The competent creation and implementation of good ideas is a basic life skill, relevant to the 21 year old college graduate, the 55 year old corporate CEO,and virtually everyone else. This skill, or the lack of it, affects the economy, governments, families, and most certainly our own lives. This point may be obvious, but less obvious are two additional points. First, the amount of thought and education put into making good decisions is far higher today than the knowledge and instruction on how to implement those ideas. In the world of business, for example, the field of strategy has made huge advances in the past twenty years. The field of strategy implementation, in contrast, has made much less progress. Second, and even more overlooked, is that our insufficient knowledge about how to get good new ideas accepted by others—a central piece of making anything happen—is becoming more and more of a problem as the world changes faster and faster.
2. Change is one of the most powerful forces shaping everything in the world in which we live. With change swirling around us, we need to change more often, which demands good ideas—-ideas in the form of plans, proposals, or strategies. But, more so, we need effective action that can make those ideas be used. This is true regardless of the issue: from pitching an idea to obtain modest resources to exploring an innovative new product area to changing the health care system in the U.S. And one of the steepest walls which stop us from making increasingly needed ideas happen is the buy-in obstacle.
3. It would be wonderful if the good ideas you have, on or off the job, could simply stand on their own. But far too often, this is not the case. Whether it’s a big bill before Congress, an innovative corporate strategy, or tonight’s plan for dinner and the movies, sensible idea can be ignored, shot down, or, more often, wounded so badly that they produce little gain. A wounded idea might still get 51% of the relevant heads nodding approval. But when true buy-in is thin, the smallest of obstacles can eventually derail a supposedly agreed-upon proposal.
4. The questions, concerns, and arguments that wound or kill truly good ideas may seem to be limitless, but for all practical purposes they are not. There are a few dozen arguments used against good ideas that are very generic in their form, can be used in virtually any setting, and can be very powerful. There are also a set of generic responses, all based on a single, somewhat counterintuitive method, that can build strong support for good ideas, regardless of the setting (on or off the job) or the scale of the issues (trying to get buy-in for a new corporate strategy or for a clever proposal to spend $100).
5. Although much has been written on buy-in or related topics (persuasion, communication), the method we offer here, and the 24 very specific responses to 24 common generic attacks, have a power and efficiency (buy-in achieved for resources used) that may be unique, and thus of great potential use to those pursuing innovation, strategy implementation, or simply trying to get one good idea accepted by an after-work, pick-up basketball team. In a world in which we all have limited time and economic resources, unusual power and efficiency can mark the difference between what is practical and what is not, between what creates success and what does not.

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Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Preface

Part One: The Centerville Story

1. The Death of a Good Plan 12
2. Saving the Day in Centerville, Part 1 21
3. Saving the Day, Part II 54
4. Saving the Day, Part III 72

Part Two: The Method

5. Four Ways to Kill Good Ideas 73
6. A Counterintuitive Strategy for Saving Your Good Idea 89
7. 24 Attacks & 24 Responses 109
8. How The Method Helps Large-scale Change 133
9. A Quick Reference Guide for Saving Good Ideas. 143

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 10, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Commonsense, amusing how-to for getting your new ideas heard and implemented

    John P. Kotter and Lorne A. Whitehead excel in the field of consulting and strategy for leadership and change. In this bantering, conversational guide, they convincingly demonstrate how to present any new idea, how to prepare for likely attacks on that idea and how to guide the concept to triumph despite the attacks. In the first half of the book, the authors illustrate these principles with their fictional narrative, "Saving the Day in Centerville," in which two protagonists present a proposal to equip the town's library with computers. The story introduces a range of attacker personalities, from "Pompus Meani" to "Bendi Windi," and the four attack strategies, "confusion, delay, ridicule and fear mongering." Throughout this tale and in the analysis that follows, the gist of the authors' strategies emerges with clarity. The lessons read quickly, and while the first half of the book seems nowhere near as necessary as the second, getAbstract recommends this guide to anyone who has to persuade anybody, anywhere, in order to get anything done. And that's everyone, isn't it?

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2010

    Check price before buying

    I read this book in the BN store because the Nook price is 30% higher than other ebook prices. This seems to be happening more & more. BN should respond. To date, nothing. It may be more economical to sell my Nook, download a free app & get ebooks from another seller.

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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