Aug 23

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14 – The Law of Buy-in

"People Buy into the Leader, then the Vision"

In John C. Maxwell’s book The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You (2007), John shares the law of buy-in.


Many people with a good idea are often stunned to discover that they have difficulty selling the idea to other people. It is not necessarily that the idea is not good but that people have not bought into the person selling the idea. Good leaders understand that people must buy into them first before buying into their vision. This concept is readily observable but for some seems contrary to what many believe should happen.

Several years ago, I saw this leadership law in action. An acquaintance had an idea for a robbery deterrent system targeted at high-risk businesses like gas stations and convenience stores. His idea as actually quite good and he had spend a considerable amount of time molding the vision to convince investors to fund initial prototypes. Many of the investors knew the inventor quite well and recognized his limited leadership influence, which created high-risk from an investment point of view. The bottom line – the inventor failed to comply with the law of buy in.

The law of buy in causes people to take one of four actions.

1. People look for another leader when they do not buy into the leader or the leader’s vision.

2. People look for another leader when they do not buy into the leader but do buy into the vision.

3. People seek to change the vision when they buy into the leader but not into the vision.

4. People support the leader and the vision when they buy into both.

Getting support for your ideas, vision, and strategy requires that people buy into you first. This often takes time. To build credibility with people develop relationships with them, earn their trust by displaying character, integrity, and honesty, hold yourself to high standards, set good examples, help people do their jobs better, help people reach their goals, and develop people as leaders. When you add value to your relationships your credibility with other people increases and builds the foundation for people to buy into you and your ideas.

I wish you well on your personal growth journey. I appreciate your additional insight, so feel free to comment to share your thoughts and experiences.

Links to other posts in this discussion on the laws of leadership.
Mind map of the 21 laws of leadership.
Introduction to the leadership laws | 1 – The Law of the Lid | 2 – The Law of Influence | 3 – The Law of Process | 4 – The Law of Navigation | 5 – The Law of Addition | 6 – The Law of Solid Ground | 7 – The Law of Respect | 8 – The Law of Intuition | 9 – The Law of Magnetism | 10 – The Law of Connection | 11 – The Law of the Inner Circle | 12 – The Law of Empowerment | 13 – The Law of The Picture

Maxwell, John. (2007). The 21 irrefutable laws of leadership: Follow them and people will follow you. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

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