Marketing, musings, and the future

Beyond Buy-In

“Why are you trying to get buy-in?” he asked simply. “Why not seek enrollment?”

For about a day, I thought he was crazy. And then I was annoyed. But then I had to see his point. If an idea is good, then you’ll get buy in….that is, agreement. But if an idea is fantastic, then people want to be a part of it. if you are doing something totally impactful and innovative…all the people that you would wish to be on your team…well, they will simply enroll.

I sense you doubt me, but I have found this on many occasion. Some musings on why.

Motif I: Motivation.
If you ask most people on the street what motivates us they will hands down say “money.” It is the basis of every sales compensation plan. It is the classic carrot and stick model of how to motivate people. But it turns out that motivation by financial incentive really only works in limited cases. As Dan Pink demonstrates in his fascinating book, Drive, people are motivated by money primarily for simple, straightforward tasks. For creative, higher level thinking, there are three factors: autonomy, mastery, and purpose. Motif I for enrollment is that to get enrollment, you must enable one of these. And anecdotally, I have found that engaging with a match of purpose is the strongest motivator.

Motif II: Passion (Fun)

Being part of a high performing team is the most fun thing there ever was. I still look back to the team I was a part of in 2004 as an amazing stint. The funny thing is…if I meet anyone of those people for lunch, they all say it “that was the most fun I’ve ever had….”. If you want to enroll people, you’ve got to make it fun.

There are a number of companies out there that work through enrollment.  I’ve worked with Ideo a lot and they have a fascinating process of announcing the process and then having different people enroll for the team if they are interested.  You want good people? Work on a fascinating problem. And make it fun.  It’ll be the best experience you ever have.


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This entry was posted on May 26, 2012 by in Uncategorized.


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