A case for buy-in over consensus

Workshop participants learning best practices for decision making

Early on in my career, I focused a lot of energy into getting group consensus because I thought that would lead to the best, most successful decisions. Eventually I realized that it was energy and time wasted. Let me explain.

When solving big problems (improving products/services, choosing where to invest time & money, increasing quality & efficiency), the solution will likely involve behavior change from many people.

No matter how good a solution is, it won’t work if people don’t change their behavior.

And people aren’t going to be motivated to change if they didn’t feel involved in the decision-making process.

Think about it. If your boss came to you and said “you need to change what you’re doing because I decided so”, you’re going to resist that. (How dare they presume to know how to do your job?!)

However, involving people in a decision NOT the same as decision by committee.

Involving people in a decision requires giving them space to express their opinions. If people feel that their opinions were taken into consideration, they’ll respect and buy into a decision, even if they don’t fully agree with it.

Imagine your boss had asked for your input. Even if you don’t agree with their final decision, you’re more likely to listen to them now.

It’s unrealistic to expect a group of humans to reach consensus everything, but luckily you don’t need to; all you need for behavior change is buy-in.

This is why workshops are so powerful. When run correctly, they create space for everyone to express opinions, disagreements, and concerns. And when run well, they also create space for a clear decision to be made. That way even if the group doesn’t reach consensus, they’ll still all be bought into the solution, making it possible for them to achieve their goals.

Make faster, more effective decisions

Get your team members to buy into your roadmap, take ownership of their tasks, and deliver higher quality products. 

With extensive experience helping product team deliver impactful experiences, I specialize in helping teams make faster decisions. 

Reach out today to discuss how we can create a plan for improving team buy-in and ownership!