Buy-In is Cheap: Involvement Creates Lasting Success

Educational leaders tout the benefits of getting staff buy-in. What is the value of buy-in? Teachers really don't want to be sold. Educational leaders aren't really wanting to sell, but that is what buy-in is. Buy-in is cheap - we need commitment. The difference is immense.
Teacher Buy-in can not create successful school cultures.

Involvement Rather Than Buy-In

Buy-in is motivation from a fleeting experience. It is given from a speech, meeting, or a new idea. Buy-in dies off after time. Buy-in is subtle manipulation. It's being sold on an idea or a tactic to improve student performance in some sort of way. We need real commitment. And commitment comes from one source, involvement.

Involvement benefits:
  • Students, who know when the adults in their lives are really committed to them.
  • Teachers, who only want perform at their best, without inconsistent pendulum shifts.
  • Principals, who seek to provide the best instructional climate for teachers and students. (Here's a post with 5 simple steps for principals to improve campus climate)
  • Curriculum directors, who seek to improve the quality of instructional services.
  • Superintendents, who know an engaged community is critical to our success.

Involvement Creates Culture Change

Educational leadership that empowers.Principals who get the most from their teachers, curriculum directors whose teams give their all, and superintendents who inspire principals, do not seek buy-in. They seek to genuinely involve their people, and involvement creates commitment. When a team has involvement, they're empowered to create the ideas. This is the opposite of buy-in. They aren't sold on ideas. There is no superhero coming to bring the answers. The answers are within the organization. They are found when teams are empowered to find those answers. Solutions are discovered as teams learn about problems. Improvement occurs as teams are involved in studying challenges facing a school. Empowerment becomes a cultural change in schools. It becomes a way of doing business, not just a meeting or one-time event. And that is what creates lasting success.

Read how 9 effective principal practices can ensure involvement with their staff.

Here's a post describing how fear of failure will quickly undermine involvement from principals and teachers.


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