Positive Work Culture: Build-in vs. Buy-in

Are you selling yourself short?

As an instructor who helps build organizational leadership using improvisational comedy techniques, Sean Monahan believes that the best cultures are those where everyone feels as if their voice is valued.

It’s this culture that creates “build-in” vs. “buy-in” – an effective approach to employee engagement and building collaborative, communicative teams. When you aim for buy-in, you’re essentially selling people on something; when you aim for build-in, you get their willingness to participate.
When we talk about being a leader and allowing yourself to create the structure around you, organization around you, and the culture around you, we try and make it a little more democratic. It's a messier form of government, but everybody has a say.

There's a fantastic organizational psychologist over at UCLA’s Anderson School of Business named Iris Firstenberg. She uses a term called “build in”. It's the opposite of buy-in and it’s that concept of get people involved. If you're trying to get buy-in from them, you are trying to sell them on something. If you get build-in from them, you get their engagement, you get their willingness to participate in what it is you are trying to accomplish, and it’s going to be way more effective in the long-term.

Sean Monahan

Sean Monahan is a co-owner of M.i. Productions (parent company of the nationally renowned Mission iMPROVable and M.i.’s Westside Comedy Theater) and a Senior Instructor for Business Improvisations who travels the country leading works...

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