Business built on agile foundations is fuelled by change from the bottom up, with teams on the frontline spotting opportunities as they arise and getting the executive buy-in to take advantage of them. This is especially true for modern organizations, where technology can change in a flash, and it’s up to those with their fingers on the pulse of their field to drive process innovations, rather than waiting for higher-level executives to discover and drive change from the top.
Apart from it making more sense for those who have the most contact with a certain area to be the main change agents, often these opportunities are also time-sensitive; they need to be seized upon early to make a difference, before they become the norm and the organization is just plodding along with the pack. However, one of the biggest problems all organizations (not just those attempting to implement agile practices) face is how to get executive buy-in to initiate a change project for new technology.
How to Get Executive Buy-In for Technological Change
Research by Professor John Kotter of Harvard Business School found that 70% of change efforts failed due to lack of sufficient buy-in. If you’re looking to make sure that your pitch for new tech is successful, here are some of the best ways to go about it.
Speak a Language Everyone Can Recognize
No matter the department, but especially when it comes to technology, it can be very easy to get used to speaking the language of your field, talking in acronyms, slang and complicated shorthand. While this can speed things up for those in-the-know, it can simply alienate those who aren’t – which is not exactly the way to gain consensus and support.
One trick for overcoming this is to run your pitch or business case by a colleague or friend in a different field and ask them to point out every time they don’t know what you’re talking about. Finding an accessible language for communicating your business case builds trust with those who matter most to its success.
Be Clear About Benefits (and Also Risks)
Speaking of building trust, when it comes to outlining what your project will achieve, support your point with actual figures as much as possible. For example, “enhanced synergies and accelerated decision velocity” can also be backed up by breakdowns of what that will actually mean in labor hours, productivity and savings.
Similarly, don’t be afraid to mention the risks the project entails. Everyone knows there is no such thing as risk-free change. By highlighting potential issues, you get to own the situation and control how these are framed, as well as showing you have considered these risks and how to approach them.
Build Support by Canvassing Ideas
Getting executive buy-in doesn’t start with you walking into a boardroom pumped for a killer presentation (or at least it shouldn’t). Like most politics and business, it’s the one-on-ones around the edges that plant the seeds of acceptance before you start pulling down any PowerPoint screen.
To build a groundswell of support for a tech investment, ask others for their input, what they think the project is missing and how the other executives should be approached. Feeling that they have some authorship on the project is more likely to get people to support it.
If you believe in something, you should be happy to own it. All too often, however, people can let opportunities slip by because they weren’t willing to stand up for their hunch. If you want the C-suite to back your project, you also have to back it yourself by getting in the driver’s seat and explaining how your team can and will deliver on what you’ve set out in your project’s business case.
Getting the right technology can make a massive difference to any team’s processes, but getting executive buy-in to make that investment can be a nerve-wracking and sometimes discouraging process. Give yourself the best chance of success by having a solid plan and picking a technology that has clear and immediate benefits. To see an example of a solution that’s already starred in countless success stories, get a live demo of Clarizen today.