Summary of Buy-In

Saving Your Good Idea from Getting Shot Down

Harvard Business Review Press, more...

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Buy-In book summary
Every new idea faces opposition. Here’s how to get your ideas done.


8 Overall

9 Applicability

8 Innovation

7 Style


John P. Kotter and Lorne A. Whitehead excel in the field of consulting and strategy for leadership and change. In this bantering, conversational guide, they convincingly demonstrate how to present any new idea, how to prepare for likely attacks on that idea and how to guide the concept to triumph despite the attacks. In the first half of the book, the authors illustrate these principles with their fictional narrative, “Saving the Day in Centerville,” in which two protagonists present a proposal to equip the town’s library with computers. The story introduces a range of attacker personalities, from “Pompus Meani” to “Bendi Windi,” and the four attack strategies, “confusion, delay, ridicule and fear mongering.” Throughout this tale and in the analysis that follows, the gist of the authors’ strategies emerges with clarity. The lessons read quickly, and while the first half of the book seems nowhere near as necessary as the second, getAbstract recommends this guide to anyone who has to persuade anybody, anywhere, in order to get anything done. And that’s everyone, isn’t it?

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why someone will always attack your new ideas or suggestions in ways that are unexpected, often incorrect, yet very difficult to refute
  • What predictable forms those attacks take
  • How best to prepare for and respond to those attacks
  • How to enable an idea you care deeply about to succeed


The Enemies of New Ideas
Your own belief in your worthwhile ideas is never sufficient. For your proposals to succeed, you must have widespread support. However, resisting change is human nature; people tend to look for holes in new ideas and to regard with suspicion anything that alters...
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About the Authors

John P. Kotter, the Konosuke Matsushita Professor of Leadership, Emeritus, at Harvard Business School, is an authority on leadership and change. Lorne A. Whitehead is Leader of Education Innovation at the University of British Columbia.

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    Frédéric Martin 4 weeks ago
    I like the ideas exposed here. I just have a "wording" concern: people objecting your ideas are not necessary attackers, they just need to understand and be convinced. Getting some oppposition is good to fine-tune our own ideas
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    clement narh 6 years ago
    That's an amazing abstract that should get everyone to read this book.

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