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14 – The Law of Buy-In

Often people think that a worthy cause is all that is needed to rally people and motivate them. But John Maxwell believes this to be a mistake.

People don’t at first follow worthy causes. They follow worthy leaders who promote worthwhile causes. People buy into the leader first, then the leader’s vision. Having an understanding of that changes your whole approach to leading people.

Every message that people receive is filtered through the messenger who delivers it. This is why celebrity endorsements are so successful—if people trust the celebrity, they’ll buy what they are selling.

If people trust you, they will follow you no matter where you lead. If they don’t buy into you as a leader, though, they will be reluctant to buy into your vision even if it’s aligned with their ideals.

It’s not an either/or proposition

You cannot separate the leader from the cause he promotes. The two always go together. The following table shows how people react to a leader and his vision under different circumstances:

Don’t Buy inDon’t Buy inGet Another Leader
Don’t Buy inBuy inGet Another Leader
Buy inDon’t Buy inGet Another Vision
Buy inBuy inGet Behind the Leader

As a leader, having a great vision and a worthy cause is not enough to get people to follow you.

The leader finds the dream and then the people.

The people find the leader, and then the dream.

That’s how the Law of Buy-In works.

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Stephen W Murphy:

The Law of Buy-In