Whether it is your boss, your boss’s boss, or the board of directors, getting senior buy-in from key people for a major project is essential and without it you may end up wasting everyone’s time and missing out on a great opportunity. So how exactly can you ensure that everyone is on the same page? Well, if you are the project lead or the person driving for change then it is up to you, but don’t worry, we’re here to help too
1. Align your project with organisational goals
It is unlikely that you’ll get support for a project that doesn’t align with where senior leadership sees the company heading. So, make sure you understand what the primary goals of the business are and find a way to present your project as helping to achieve them. Even better, show that your project will get them there faster and deliver savings or other benefits along the way.
2. Use real-world examples
The people you want to get on board are busy and often must digest a lot of information about many different business areas. With that in mind you don’t want them having to take abstract, off-the-shelf examples and apply them to the business. Do that work for them by ensuring that you show how your project will impact your business in a real-world setting.
3. Round up additional support
Presenting a united front can help you present your idea as one with more credit if there is support from other areas of the business. People at your same level who can vouch for the idea/s and demonstrate that their business area will benefit will help bring leadership along for the journey. So start contacting people that you know are likely to support you and who may find benefits in your proposal.
4. Be prepared for anything
An executive or board member is going to have a very different perspective to someone on the ground and working in the business every day and as a result will have questions which you may not have come up against previously. You need to prepare yourself and have as much information as possible at your disposal to be able to answer them on the spot. If you have to take a question on notice, then commit to getting them an answer as soon as possible and do not miss a deadline.
5. Recruit a sponsor
A sponsor in a senior position within the business can be invaluable and will help you not only with getting the right people on board but can also give you advice on how to present your project and yourself. Choosing the right person can be challenging though and it is important that you find someone who will understand what you’re trying to achieve. If, for example, you’re pushing for a new ERP then you should aim for someone who has an accounting or technology background. Research your audience on LinkedIn and find someone who has had some exposure to those areas and try to organise a meeting to present your proposal. Finding the right support can be key to your success.
So regardless of if you need a new ERP or a new piece of equipment in your factory, you’re likely to require senior stakeholder support. It is vital that you understand who the right people are, what they need to know and how to present that information in a way that they can understand and appreciate the benefits.