Have you ever had a challenge encouraging people to get involved in a project?  Do you find some people put more effort into fighting a new idea or initiative than actually giving it a chance to succeed?   We all experience these frustrations.  The ability to influence people to go in a certain direction is a great sign of leadership.  Here’s a way to get the team support and buy-in you need – even from the most difficult people.

Whether you are in charge of a new company project or trying to get service club members motivated to volunteer, we all have to call on people to pitch in.  In many ways, our business and personal success depends on our ability to sell our ideas to entice people to become proactive.  Some are eager and often willing to help out.  The challenge rests with motivating the others, who for whatever reason, need encouragement and the occasional nudge or kick to get involved.

Why some people sit on the sidelines

We are all greatly influenced by our background and our experiences.   What has happened to us in the past gives us our understanding and expectation for the future.   You could say that experience is a great teacher, yet that depends how we dealt with those situations and what we learned from them, if anything.

Everyone is entitled to feel the way they do

I have always been a great believer in this philosophy.  Unless you have known someone extremely well for many years, you have little understanding of how their past is shaping their future.  You have no idea of the quality of their relationships and what experiences cause them to think and act they way they do.  Taking a moment to ask some questions before forming an opinion can be incredibly enlightening when trying to understand people’s motivation.

Here’s an example

Let’s take the experience that we have all had with leadership.  One person will tell you the story of an influential parent, teacher or manager that became a great mentor and role model for that individual.  Some people could tell you stories of disappointment and unrealized expectations.  What we have experienced in our past can make us eager, leery or simply indifferent.  What excites you about being proactive personally could entice someone else to do the exact opposite.

The Approach

Knowing that we are all uniquely different, it’s how we are approached that makes the biggest difference when we are asked to get involved.  Sharing your vision can be a very effective way to building motivation as people respect, agree and buy-in to your goal.  Painting a vivid picture of the potential results for everyone is another a powerful motivator.  Here’s another technique that works extremely well.

People Support What They Help Create

Any of our sales training clients across Western Canada and the USA have heard this phrase many times.  They also know that repetition is the basis of all learning.  Even some of the toughest people to motivate are influenced by this technique.  It can also be a very liberating experience.

Just as it sounds

It’s not hard to understand that people will naturally support anything that they felt they helped create.  While we all fall in love with our own ideas, even our participation within a group makes us feel that we, in some way, contributed to the final outcome.  If our opinion was asked for sincerely and we had input into the process, we tend to be enthusiastic and willing to contribute to the common goal.  It doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone has to agree on every point.  As long as everyone is genuine, varied opinion can make for some great dialogue and debate on important issues and concerns.

The realization

As a Sales Manager for many years, I used to believe that it was my responsibility to come up with great ideas for my Sales Team.  I would put hours of research and planning into designing a new initiative and present it (sell it) to the team with great passion.

As I went around the table, all the Salespeople thought it was a great idea.  I was very pleased that we were all on the same page.  When asked for sales projections on the new concept, the new Salespeople would overcommit and the experienced ones would be more realistic.

You’re probably already aware of the end result.  We would fall shy of expectations and I would scratch my head wondering where the problem was.  After a few years of doing this, it occurred to me – I was doing this backwards.

The right start

Everything changed the moment I learned to involve my Sales Team with any new idea from the inception.  While I could chair the brainstorming and planning phase, I needed to allow people to put their own personal stamp of participation and creation on it.  As they gave birth to the idea and its specifics, they supported it through its implementation and sold it to their clients with great passion.  This made me realize a few things:

  • We always had better group support and success with this method of collaboration.
  • The best results occurred when I involved people from the initial start of the project.
  • People were more creative and worked harder to reach the final goal.
  • The pressure was off me to be the only one responsible for great ideas.
  • I could easily see who had natural leadership ability by watching group dynamics.

As a Manager, this was a powerful realization.  The more influence and delegation were given to the right people, the more we built a stronger team, had more fun and experienced better success.  All I had to do was set up the right environment for collaboration and stop being in charge of every component.

From then on

Someone then suggested that I could consider asking for volunteers as team captains who could coordinate activities and ensure that everyone felt part of the process.  This was a great idea and new people were stepping up to the plate wanting to get involved.  Suddenly, establishing the people-support-what-they-help-create technique led me to another important realization…

Hire the right people and let them do their job.

That doesn’t mean abandon them and let them run amok.  It means support them and keep a watchful eye from afar.  Ask questions and be there when help is asked for or needed.  Train them and give them the tools and coaching that eventually allows them to get to their next level in their professional and personal development.

What do you think?  Do have any personal stories to relate?  I’m always interested in your opinion in the comments section below.  Feel free to share this post on your favorite social media platform.

Thanks for reading!

Dave Warawa – PROSALESGUY 




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