How Do You Create Buy In?


Leif Babin


Leif Babin is a former Navy SEAL officer, co-author of the New York Times best-sellers, “Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win” and “The Dichotomy of Leadership.” He is  President/Co-founder of Echelon Front, a premier leadership training and education firm.



How do you get others to accept your plan or course of action and execute it as if it were their own?   

We get this question all the time from a leader of a team pushing their people to execute on a new strategy or adopt a new process, but their team members aren’t fully “bought in.” We get this question from individuals who step in to try and solve a problem, but whose peers, another team, or different departments aren’t on board with the solution. Sometimes the question is directed up the chain of command when someone recommends a course of action to their boss, but the boss isn’t convinced it’s the best option. 


If you recommend a course of action to a peer or up the chain to your boss on how to solve a problem, make suggestions and wherever possible, let it be their plan. Give them the credit. 

First, you need to understand the why. Detach, put any initial emotional reaction you may have aside, and think about why you or your team are being directed to do this. It’s not because your boss or your senior leaders want you to fail. They want you to win.  

When a plan is dictated to you, do your utmost to implement the plan with success. This will earn you leadership capital with your chain of command and increase your ability to influence the plan for optimal success. If the plan is problematic, you should provide feedback up the chain in a professional and constructive manner with suggested revisions that could make your leader’s plan more successful. But if you don’t show commitment and make a valid attempt to analyze and implement the plan, you will burn leadership capital and greatly reduce your ability to influence up the chain.  


As we followed up with the company’s CEO and COO, they were excited to share the details of the new site manager training program they had developed.  

“We need Echelon Front’s help to create buy-in for this new training program,” the CEO told us. “These site managers are busy, and they are already pushing back on us, saying they don’t have time to train.”  

“None,” the CEO responded. “We came up with the program.”  

The result was a successful training plan where site managers were fully bought in, because it was their plan.  


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