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Building Buy-In

Changing your unit--its habits or practices or culture--is going to require work...and it’s going to require the buy-in from a majority of your people.

If you haven’t established your DEI committee yet, that is your very first step. The purpose of this committee is to assure quality, assess risk, and be a driving force in transforming your unit for the better.  They will be the ones who spearhead and maintain the strategic planning process, so make sure your committee comprises people ‘bought in’ to this work’s importance.

authority in dei committees

Ready to learn more about setting up your committee and start the planning process?

Create Your Strategic Plan

No matter how diverse and dedicated your committee is, your team cannot do this alone. If you don’t get buy-in from all over your unit--students, postdoc, faculty, staff, leadership, etc.--you’ll find this process inherently stressful, utterly exhausting, and ultimately fruitless.

“Change is not a decision, it’s a campaign to win hearts and minds.” — Rosabeth Moss Kanter

The people in your unit can be put into three rough clusters: those who are for it (allies), those against it (opponents), and those on the fence (undecideds).  Within each cluster people will fall along a continuum from more active to more passive.

How would you categorize your unit? Where would you put the key stakeholders?

Based on how you identify the people in your unit (which cluster & where along the continuum) you’ll have a better idea of how to best unite your allies, convert the undecided, and minimize the damage done by opponents. People respond differently based on who they are, so give some thought to how you might employ (and with whom) each of the following appeals:

  • Attraction-based: profile of allies; identification, identity, and aspiration
  • Reason-based: proof of concept (It can work! It’s a miracle!); small wins
  • Politics-based: victories and their spoils (who wins, who benefits?)
  • Meaning-based: a complete worldview

Download the Allies, Opponents and Undecideds Worksheet