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Forge agreement in advance

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in Leaders & Managers,People Management

You explain what you want in great detail and then ask, “Do you agree?” But employees resist; they find your bossy tone a turnoff.

No one likes to be lectured. Bill George, an accomplished CEO and leadership expert, tells us that the “power model” doesn’t work. It’s better to induce compliance rather than demand it.

A smart way to gain buy-in is to use “if/would” questions. Examples include, “If we purchase this software, would you commit to using it?” or “If we launch this program, would you be willing to lead an implementation team?”

These speculative questions allow employees to agree conditionally to your proposal. It’s easy for them to say yes because you’re not seeking an outright commitment.

Once they accept your offer, they are more apt to follow through on your terms. Deliver your end of the bargain and you’ve got them on the hook. You can subsequently say, “I’m glad you agreed to use this equipment, because we’re going to invest in it and I’m relying on you to put it to good use.”


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