5 Ways to Secure Executive Buy-In

Aug 14, 2018 | Posted by Michael Campbell
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Successful change management requires a large commitment from executives and senior managers, whether the change is being implemented in a single department or throughout the entire organisation. Executive leaders championing the change can be the most significant factor in helping to increase adoption rates amongst employees to buy into and support needed changes.

Using Prosci’s ADKAR model to build Executives' awareness, desire, knowledge, ability and reinforcement is one tool which can be used to increase the success rate of change. You can read more about ADKAR here.
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As well as following Prosci's ADKAR model, we’ve discussed 5 other ways you can encourage Executive buy-in for your change management project.
  • Gain Knowledge of Best Practices

    Familiarising yourself with change management best practices will enable you to answer Executive leader's questions about change management with confidence and credibility. Executives thrive on effective performance so equip yourself with knowledge from the learnings of over 6,000 organisations who have been successfully implementing change.

  • Build a Strong Business Case
    When talking to Executive leaders within your organisation, it’s important to put the impact of your proposed change into a language that they can relate to. Change management is all about benefit realisation so the clearer you can make the direct correlation between effective change management and realising project benefits that will impact the organisation’s bottom line, such as ROI, the stronger your business case for change management will be.  Your business case should be a conversation, rather than a sales pitch, where you can address concerns, answer questions and create a clear vision of the future state that Executives can get on board with.
    Did you know?
    Projects with improved change management have an increased likelihood of meeting objectives as well as finishing on time and within budget.

  • Keep Requests Specific
    Executives’ time and resources are likely to already be stretched beyond their means. Don’t lose their attention with long-winded explanations and proposals. Stay specific when discussing exactly what you need from them to make your change a success, as well as the reasoning behind your change initiative. They are also likely to be more receptive if you position the change in a way that minimises the amount of time you require from them while managing to maximise the impact of their actions.

  • Be Confident and Assertive
    Confidence is key. If Executives can sense uncertainty or doubt, then it’s less likely they will take your points into consideration and trust your insights or suggestions. Remember, it is likely you are the only change management practitioner within your organisation. You have skills and information on how to implement change within the organisation that no-one else has – including the Executives – so showcase this confidently. Don't wait for someone to ask you for help - assert yourself!

  • Bring in an Outside Expert
    You might find that you have more chance of breaking down barriers by bringing an outside expert into the discussion. With no ties to the organisation, an outsider will be able to challenge Executives in a way that internal employees can’t, or won’t, through fear of possible negative repercussions. Use those experts to send a clear message and help bring Executives to their own realisation regarding the importance of change management. 
    At this point, you will be ready to be assertive, armed with best practices, have a solid business case and be specific with your requests.

Topics: best practices, ADKAR, change management certification