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Gain staff buy-in … fast

by on
in Best-Practices Leadership,Leaders & Managers

How do you lead your organization to high performance when time and money are scarce? Follow the lead of police chief Bill Bratton.

In less than two years, and without an increase in his budget, Bratton turned New York into the safest large city in the nation.

He starts by aligning the organization around the idea that a problem urgently needs solving. But he doesn’t use statistics. Instead, he gets buy-in by putting his key people face-to-face with the problems.

Example: When Bratton first went to New York to head the transit police in April 1990, he discovered that none of the senior staff officers rode the subway. They had little sensitivity to riders’ widespread concerns about safety. To shatter their complacency, Bratton began requiring that all transit police officials, including himself, ride the subway to work, to meetings and at night.

Staff officers witnessed the problems firsthand: jammed turnstiles, aggressive beggars, gangs of youths, winos and homeless people sprawled on benches. The whole place reeked of fear and disorder.

With that ugly reality staring them in the face, the transit force’s senior managers could no longer deny the need for a change in their policing methods.

—Adapted from “Tipping Point Leadership,”W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne, Harvard Business Review.

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