208-376-1701 bryan@bryanyager.com

First a quote: “We can change our whole life, and the attitude of people around us, simply by changing ourselves.” – Rudolf Dreikurs


When facilitating workshops about change leadership, I often hear managers and leaders talk about how important it is to get employee “buy-in”.  I have certainly used those exact words myself, probably hundreds of times over the years. While I agree, getting people to “buy-in” to a pending change is important, we would be more effective and get better results when leading change, if we changed our mindset and our language first. Our success as change leaders begins with us.

The change in mindset I’m proposing is subtle, yet extremely powerful. As leaders, we must shift our mindset first, before asking others to change their mindset!

Here it is: From this day forward, as change agents and leaders of change, let’s erase the words “buy-in” from our vocabulary and more importantly, from our mindsets and the way we think about leading others through change.

I offer three reasons:

  1. When we think of getting people to “buy-in” to a change they don’t initially support, they must be “sold” on the change. I submit many people resent “being sold” much of anything, let alone a change they don’t desire, or perhaps thoroughly understand early in the process.
  2. If you think about it, buying something also means “paying a price”. People are rarely willing to pay a price for an undesired change. More importantly, the “price they will pay” is often difficult to calculate or predict. They find themselves wondering: “Will this change result in a downsizing? Will it cost me my job? Will I have to learn new skills? Relocate? Work harder? You get the point. All of us listen to Wii-FM radio. Click here to learn more about Wii-FM Radio
  3. Many people today are often cynical, suspicious and “on guard” about being taken advantage of by self-serving salespeople, politicians and/or leaders. Even the most altruistic and well-intended salespeople and leaders will battle this phenomenon. Of course, this becomes a non-issue if people trust their salesperson, politician or leader. Click here to learn more about trust

What is the subtle change in mindset I propose?  As change agents, let’s shift our mindsets from trying to create “buy-in”, and focus instead on creating a “believe in” mentality of the people we lead.

When people “believe in” the change, they will more fully accept, promote, champion, practice and live the desired change. Isn’t that our goal as change agents?

My theory is, by changing our mindset first, we will do a far better job of:

  • Creating a shared vision and set of beliefs about the change.
  • Explaining “The Why” and “The Need” for the change.
  • Sharing the data, a peek into our crystal ball and related conclusions.
  • Telling “The Story & History” that got us to this point in our journey.
  • Creating a compelling “Vision” for the change.
  • Involving others in creating the change; to be co-creators of our collective futures.
  • Instilling ownership and accountability for our success.

Again, a subtle, but important nuance. Let’s stop selling and start leading… start believing!

Bonus Quotes:

“Few things are more important during a change event than communication from leaders who can paint a clear and confidence-inspiring vision of the future.” – Sarah Clayton

“I wanted to change the world.  But I have found that the only thing one can be sure of changing is oneself.” – Aldous Huxley

And, as always, how will you lead differently, or better, this coming week?

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Have a great week!


Bryan Yager



“Expanding Your Capacity for Success”