With the release of Mists of Pandaria eminent, a lot is about to change. Obvious in-game facets are changing and along with that many guilds will be ushering in changes. It is normal and to a degree expected. One of the most effective ways to make sure a big decision (or potential big decision) is well received is to get buy-in from everyone in the guild. Yup, everyone.
Coming from someone who has in the past been accused of lacking feelings, I’ve learned the hard way that how people feel really matters. Unfortunately for me, perfect logic and sound rationale (*wink*) are not sufficient for everyone to feel good about a change or decision. Feelings are why it is important to get buy in: reinforce big decisions with positive feelings and they will be better received.
You can’t please everyone…
…but you can make everyone feel like they contributed. Asking people what they think about something makes them feel valued–a positive feeling. Giving someone the opportunity to voice their thoughts makes them feel like they have contributed–a positive feeling. Giving people a change to speak up makes them feel like you are considering the guild as a whole–a positive feeling. Taking the time to slow down the decision process to ask for input helps people to see you as a democratic leader–a positive feeling.
Give them the time of day
Asking for people’s thoughts/ideas can’t be half-assed. When someone takes the time to provide you the thoughts/input you’re asking for, you need to do a little more than just say “Thank you for your thoughts”. First, don’t go on the offensive. Even if what they said is the complete opposite of what is most likely to happen, the least you can do is consider their thoughts beyond a possible initial reaction of “That’s ridiculous/stupid/impossible/etc.” It may feel like a waste of time to further discuss ideas that in the back of your mind you know will never come to fruition; however, the value of the time is that you are making someone feel valued–a positive feeling–because at the heart of it you must value them if they are part of your team/guild. Those who are more skilled at positively steering conversations can use genuine responses to rotate the conversation toward what is more likely to occur. Most importantly, don’t be dismissive. A good measure is to give the same amount of time for a response that is in line with reality as you would something that might not seem worth your time.
If a big decision and/or change comes out of the input process, be sure to acknowledge the input that everyone made–even the ones that might have seemed stupid/crazy. It doesn’t have to be individual acknowledgement, but making mention of an idea here and there that was considered is a great way to tie in the positive feelings of taking people’s input with whatever decision/change is being implemented.
Why this topic?
Based on some feedback, I’m going to start commenting on why I write topics. The vast majority of the time what I write is in direct relation to something going on in my own guild. This topic is the result of a big decision underway in my guild revolving around our raid schedule. Feedback has been queried for a couple of weeks now, asking people what raid days suit everyone the best, what days people absolutely cannot raid, what times people can reliable make it to raid start and when is the latest they can go until. By making the data and feedback open and transparent, the idea is that if any changes are made, it will have a high positive feeling because everyone had the opportunity to provide their own personal information, thoughts, and input, even if a possible change may not be 100% agreeable to everyone.