Don’t Blame the Non Buyer for Not Buying Into Your Change or Your Idea


Screen Shot 2016-02-16 at 7.44.43 PMTuesday, Dr. Greg Jacobson and I did a webinar together titled “How to Get Buy In for Improvement.”

When we ask people, “What are your biggest barriers to improvement?” the answer we get most often is “lack of buy in.”

As we say in the webinar, “lack of buy in” is really a symptom of a deeper problem.

We need to ask why — why don't we have more buy in? What can we do, as leaders, to help create buy in?

This doesn't mean FORCING people to buy in. Buying is supposed to be a voluntary transaction. Are you offering change that's wanted by people, because it's actually solving a problem?

One other lesson: Don't blame the people who aren't buying in!

Another lesson from the webinar, as stated by Greg (the doctor): Doctors are people too!

I added the somewhat obvious truth that managers are people too!

When physicians (or managers) aren't buying in (or are “resisting change”), the causes are pretty similar.

Here is the recording… we got good feedback from attendees, so we hope you enjoy it and find it useful.


You can also listen to it as a podcast or see the slides by clicking here to visit the KaiNexus website.

Here is a blog post that summarizes the webinar.

Thanks for checking it out!

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Mark Graban
Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.


  1. Agree that the buy-in often difficult.

    My observation is that much of the change approach in the Lean world applied to healthcare is quite primitive. This in spite of the all the readily available science on the subject that has been developed over the last 25 years.

    At the individual level, and especially working with physicians, the change needs to solve a problem that is important to the individual. Nothing new here either, but this concept is frequently overlooked.

    Also, the Lean folks often get caught up in the trappings of Lean (it worked on the assembly line, didn’t it?) without recognizing the crucial differences in their new environment.


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