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Generating Buy-In

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Generating Buy-In

Mastering the Language of Leadership


15 min read
10 take-aways
Text available

What's inside?

Tell a strategic story that makes people follow you. State a goal, show the future, give examples and ask for action.

Editorial Rating



  • Innovative
  • Applicable


Leaders don’t exist without followers and followers don’t exist without buy-in. To get people to follow you, tell them where you want to go in such a way that they want to take the trip. Author Mark S. Walton’s very short, concise handbook shows leaders and would-be leaders how to craft compelling stories, how to use images to appeal to their listeners’ imaginations and emotions, and how to use language to advance their goals. Walton employs an easy-to-use outline format that makes it simple to determine if you have everything you need to communicate as clearly as possible. He provides numerous examples of this approach at work in government and business. assures readers who are looking for a quick guide to communicating clearly that they will find what they need in this book.


Why Buy-In

The President of the United States cannot wage war all alone. The new CEO of a disgraced company cannot restore the stock price without the support of Wall Street. The vice president of a division needs help to make a new product launch a success. No one can be a leader without followers.

The most important leadership skill is the ability to inspire others - to get them to understand, make a commitment and actively support the mission. New organizational models put a premium on teamwork and collaboration. The vertical hierarchy is, if not dead, certainly diminished. Dow Chemical chairman Bill Stavropoulos said, "There’s nothing you can force people to do. Now, people have to believe, and they have to believe in you."

The arts of persuasion and story telling have been part of the human heritage since pre-history. But it was the Greek philosophers and rhetoricians who first analyzed and systematized these arts. In 450 A.D., Aristotle said, "It is impossible even to think without a mental picture." Usually, people link our mental pictures to each other in stories. You tend to remember not just one picture, but also the picture that came before it and ...

About the Author

Mark S. Walton is chairman of the Center for Leadership Communication, based in Monterey, CA, and Chapel Hill, NC. He is also professor of leadership at the U.S. Navy’s Advanced Management Program and teaches at the Senior Executive Institute at the University of North Carolina. A Peabody Award winner, he was former chief White House correspondent for CNN.

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