Good salespeople have a saying, “People don’t like to be sold. They like to buy.”
The same wisdom is true when enlisting team members to do the big thing in front of them.
Too often, however, leaders automatically move to sell mode: “We have to do this [big thing] because [insert corporate rationale].” (Worth noting, the top reasons are almost always the same: Grow market share, reduce costs, transform or simplify.)
Saying why the organization needs us to do a big thing is important. (Even this communication, though, is often missed in organizations.) When an employee understands how their efforts will serve the greater good, they are more inclined to engage.
But is having your team engaged enough? In most cases, it is not – because the projects and work that employees must do today is testing their hearts.
People buy into plans – even take ownership of them – when one additional question is asked after they are told why completing a project is important to the organization: Why is it important to you that we succeed in executing this plan?
There are countless ways to ask the ownership question, including:
- What difference will the work we’re doing today make for our customer tomorrow?
- How will delivering on this initiative strengthen the identity of our team?
- In what ways will the success of this project build your credibility within the organization?
We said it when published Do Big Things five years ago and it is even more true today: Organizations are in desperate need of leaders who can mobilize the hearts and minds of those they lead. It is worth remembering: People do not like to be sold grand plans. Create meaning for the plan in employees by personalizing the effort – and they will own the steps forward.
P.S. Do you want to party? I always like a good celebration. That is why I am excited about our Do Big Things Anniversary Party. We’ll be celebrating the 5-year anniversary of the book, including uncovering….
- How the book has helped make an epic impact in teams around the world.
- What leaders are implementing to help their teams do big things.
- Tools you can activate immediately to mobilize hearts and minds.