When discussing organizational change, we often talk about the necessity of gaining buy-in for the initiative.Â In poker, buy-in is the minimum bet required to play the game.Â Similarly, buy-in of change is simply agreement that the project should go forward. To gain momentum, you really need people to go beyond buy-in.Â To influence change, gain commitment.
Commitment means people pledge to do their part to implement change. It is much more than simply head-nodding.Â Those who are committed to change complete tasks, strive to achieve goals and align their words with their actions.
In Influence:Â The Psychology of Persuasion, Dr. Robert Cialdini says that if people commit, orally or in writing, to an idea or goal, they are more likely to honor that commitment.Â The desire to not contradict oneself is so strong that even if the original incentive or motivation is removed after they have already agreed, they will continue to honor the agreement.
So, make sure people are writing down or saying out loud that they will implement change.Â For more powerful commitment, get them to be as specific as possible about what they will say and do to support the change.
How might you gain commitment?
Read more of the 99 Ways to Influence Change.