43: The Buy In Curve

 In Podcast Episodes

Where are you on the buy in curve?

Where are you on the buy in curve?

This episode is based on Chapter 14 of my book Change is Like a Slinky.

In this episode I cover:

  • The five different types of people on the change curve
  • How each of these groups thinks
  • How you should approach each group, and how to get them on board with your idea for change.

Whenever someone has a great idea and pitches it to others, the idea can either be received well, or shot down as it comes out of your moth. It is quite likely that you have been a person with an idea that was killed right away, as well as one that has killed an idea before it was off the ground.

I worked with one guy (I’ll call him Blake) that was always positive and interested in my ideas. He was not a “Yes Man” that implemented everything without thinking about it, but he was definitely an “Early Adopter.” On the other end of the spectrum was another guy (I’ll call him Jack)” that felt that things were not broken and therefore we should not try to fix them. Jack was so negative that I would shy away from sharing new ideas with him.

We’re All on the Curve Somewhere

There is quite a lot of research out there that proves that the buy in curve is common in all human enterprises. Here is the breakdown. Where do you fit in the curve? * Based on the book, The Diffusion of Innovations (fourth edition) by Everett Rodges, Free Press.

  1. “YES!” Inventers and Innovators – they see the future first – 6%
  2. “Willing to be convinced” Early Adopters – they are ready to jump on the bandwagon right away – 10%
  3. “Gradual buy in” Early Majority – they follow the crowed when it seems like the right direction to go – 34%
  4. “Reluctant ones” Late Bloomers– Once the idea has been mapped out and proven in early beta tests they are willing to get on board. These are often your valuable process people who want lots of data – 34%
  5. “Over my dead body!” Laggards and Hold Outs – these are the people who may never get on the program for a new order of things. – 16%

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A Strategy for All Kinds

So what do we do with these people? Actually you have all kind in your midst, the key is to identify them and then work with them accordingly. Build your change strategy on those that can help you the most, and try to be gracious to the rest.

  • Inventors and Innovators: Build on them. They are the foundation for your inner circle of change. They are the idea bank that you harvest for your change strategies. They help you cook up the future.
  • Early Adopters: These are the first to get on board. Treat them well and care for them, because they are going to be there for you when you need them.
  • Early Majority: Be patient with the silent majority. There is nothing wrong with following the crowd. This is the great majority of your people that support change once they have been convinced and more importantly when they see that others have gone before them.
  • Late Bloomers: Don’t burn your bridges with these that will hopefully come along in the long run.
  • Laggards and Hold Outs: I have to be careful here. Is it unfair to say that you should not waste much time and effort on these. They are relicts of yesterday that tend to love life with their heads in the sand away from the action. At times they really need to be asked to get off the bus. Tom Peters and radicals like him suggest that you fire these 16% that never get on board with you. Worth considering.

Recommended Reading: Buy-In: Saving Your Good Idea from Getting Shot Down by John P. Kotter

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