Ted Murcray Leaders are encouraged to get buy-in from those they lead when making a major decision, particularly a decision that will bring change to the organization.\u00a0 Kotter outlines 8 steps to manage change, and the fourth step is \u201ccommunicate for buy-in,\u201d and that is, indeed a critical step. However, many leaders have misinterpreted buy-in and see it as input in the decision-making process.\u00a0 This can lead to confusion.\u00a0 Picture this all-too-common scenario: a leader calls the team together in a meeting, presents a problem, and then asks the team to come up with solutions.\u00a0 The team works diligently to hammer out possible solutions, which the leader graciously thanks the team for creating.\u00a0 A few days later, an email outlines the new solution that looks nothing like what the team created. Here is what happened: the leader already had an idea about what the solution should be.\u00a0 She knew she needed buy-in from her team, so she asked them what they thought, hoping they would come up with the solution she already had in mind.\u00a0 Unfortunately, they did not, so she sat on it for a few days pondering her options.\u00a0 Ultimately she decided to go with the plan she already had and sent it out, thanking the team for their input.\u00a0 In an effort to create buy-in for a pre-determined plan, she actually created angst and frustration on the team as they wondered why they worked so hard on a solution that was dismissed. Although it may seem ideal to get the team to come up with the solution, there are times when, legitimately, the leader has a prescribed solution that must be followed.\u00a0 When that happens, it is best to be clear in communication with the team. Present the Plan Meet with the team and go over the problem that the team is facing. Outline the plan that you have created and provide the reasoning and context that caused you to create that particular plan.\u00a0 Open the Floor for Discussion Before you gather feedback from the team, be clear about the parts of the plan that are not negotiable.\u00a0 Which parts of the plan must remain in place?\u00a0 Which parts must be there but could be modified?\u00a0 Then, ask the team to provide their input.\u00a0 What are aspects of the plan that could face challenges?\u00a0 Without changing the plan, what can the team do to help overcome those challenges? Consider the Feedback Let the team know that you value the time they have invested in giving you feedback.\u00a0 Tell them you plan to consider the feedback and you will determine whether changes will be made to the plan or not.\u00a0 Then, spend time honestly considering the feedback.\u00a0 You may even want to bring in one or two trusted team members to act as a sounding board while you consider various pieces of feedback and how they might affect the plan. Communicate your Decision If possible, call the team back together to present the final plan.\u00a0 Talk about aspects of their feedback that you included in the plan and how you believe that feedback made the plan better.\u00a0 It may help to talk about certain aspects of the feedback that you left out and why.\u00a0 This sort of transparency builds your team communication in two important ways: 1. The team can hear evidence that you listened to the feedback, even if you rejected it.\u00a0 This will make your team members feel heard and valued.\u00a0 2. This provides the team with a glimpse into your decision-making process \u2013 how do you consider feedback and how you decide what gets included and what does not.\u00a0 This will help your team give you feedback in the future that will be more in line with your thinking.