IP (Uh) O! The importance of buy-in, a lesson learned from Groupon’s COO woes.

Although it remains to be seen how the rapid turnover in Groupon’s COO position—two COO’s departing within a year—impacts its IPO offering, Groupon’s experience reveals the importance of obtaining and keeping management “buy in,” especially during key strategic initiatives.

Even if, as owner, you are the sole strategic decision maker for your company, it is important that your team understand and support your vision. Without buy in, overall performance suffers. Additionally, a game-changing opportunity could be negatively impacted or lost because a key team member lost faith and jumped ship, or worse stayed and sowed discontent.

To prevent untimely departures from impacting key projects, make sure that as part of your opportunity assessment you identify the staff critical to the plan or transaction and assess their current level of buy in. If you find that a team member necessary to the opportunity’s success is “at risk,” address the situation before it jeopardizes your plan. The solution may be simple (listening to your team member and reaffirming their worth to the organization) or more complex (agreeing to an opportunity-based incentive plan with the employee). You may also find that you can not resolve the situation and that the only remedy is that you and your employee part ways. Recognizing this rift early allows you to actively manage the situation and minimize any impact the employee’s departure has on the deal. Don’t be afraid to take the necessary steps to get the right staff on board to make your vision a success.

Even if you are not at an organizational crossroads, maintaining team buy in is just smart business. Your management staff influences your team on a daily basis. Management’s enthusiasm for the company provides positive energy and increases employee satisfaction. Informed employees are engaged in the company, take more pride in their work, and positively impact your bottom line.

Keep your team informed. Stay in touch with their level of “buy in” to your vision. Consistently communicate your vision to your team, craft compensation and bonus plans that support your vision, and realign, or remove, persistent naysayers.

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