The three Es for getting buy-in to your technology projects
When you’re tasked with improving business processes in your organisation, it’s crucial to get buy-in from senior management.
And the more complex the project, the further up the chain approval needs to be sought.
Without it, you’re going to struggle.
But the fact is, to really get a hold on your project, it’s not just the higher-ups you need to convince.
It’s everyone else too.
I know, I know.
It feels like a mammoth task, right?
But don’t worry—it’s doable.
You’ve just got to take your time, be strategic about it and trust that if you put in the work and lead from the front, others will follow.
To help think about how to approach getting buy-in from others in your organisation, I think it’s useful to break things down into three stages.
I refer to them as the three Es. You’ll see why.
First up, we have Educate.
This is where it all starts.
There’s no cheating or getting around it …
Education is fundamental.
You see, you can’t just tell people a change is needed.
Even if it is blindingly obvious, and the current systems are making a mockery of completing even the simplest of tasks, you can’t ever assume people understand the repercussions this may have on moving the organisation forward.
You need to show people why there is a problem. You need to explain to them why it’s happening. And you need to show how it affects not just the business at large and the people your organisation serves, but how it impacts them too.
Of course, like any good educator, you can’t just be preachy and shout the problems aloud and hope people will get it.
You have to engage your audience, take the time to talk it through, invite questions from people and listen to any push back you might receive against the changes you’re proposing.
The good thing is, as you are able to convince others of the importance of your project, they in turn will become change ambassadors themselves, helping you to further spread your influence.
Indeed, this is important, because in the end, you need senior influencers dotted about the organisation — influencers who understand the ultimate value of what you are proposing.
But as I say, it always starts with education.
Once that’s done, you can move to the second E.
What is it?
Yes you need to educate why a change is needed, but then you have to clearly evidence how the change will impact the organisation and the staff involved.
“Trust me, it’s good for the organisation,” is not a line that people generally warm to.
You need to provide real evidence of the benefits of your proposed project and change. You need to be able to show people, not just hope they believe you.
But obviously, you’re showing this to people who might not be quite as excited or interested in the detail.
In fact, let’s face it: an afternoon going through a series of slides about technology is the last thing most people want to do.
So, just as you must make educating them about the why engaging, you need to make evidencing the how engaging too.
To do this, you need to take the raw information you might have used to formulate your project plan and figure out how you can apply it to what people do in a much more personal and emotional way.
For example, don’t just say you’ll be able to reduce the number of hours spent managing financial records …
Point out instead how by bringing systems together the number of duplicate processes will reduce X%, therefore increasing staff productivity and make doing their job much easier.
Or how about this?
Explain that by reducing the number of duplicate records, increased data accuracy will mean staff can monitor performance in real-time …
In turn that will mean you’ll see an increase not only in the satisfaction of the people you serve, but also a desire to want to keep working with you.
Either way, the key here is, as I say, giving those specific evidence-based examples. It will really help.
Finally, we have Execute.
And the key here is that you execute your technology project plan with other people in your organisation.
You’ve got to make people an active part of it.
You could do this by appointing custodians of different part of the project, or by giving certain people more responsibility around how the technology is delivered and then used.
You could do this by working with others to test run certain systems and processes in action so you can see first-hand how execution might initially highlight some challenges. Which, in turn, can then be remedied together.
The key thing is that you don’t just execute your plan as if it is something being forced on the rest of the organisation — treat it as something the rest of the organisation is executing for you, for the sake of operating better and more efficiently.
The good thing is, if you have taken the time to educate people about the why …
If you clearly evidence how it will make their life better (and help improve the organisation and customer experience) …
Then when you come to execute, people will more likely want to be involved and will become allies in your task.
So, there you have it.
Three simple Es that will help you get buy-in from the people in your organisation:
Pretty simple to remember, right?
But if you take the time to think about how you can do each of these things in relation to delivering your technology project …
And if you figure out how you can tailor them to your particular organisation …
You’ll soon find you’ve got a very clear plan in front of you that you can follow in a very practical way.
It takes time, of course it does. Often the changes you’ll want to make will go against practices, procedures, and systems that have been in place for many, many years.
But by educating people as to why the change is needed …
Evidencing how that change would make their lives easier …
And then executing the ideas together with them …
Everyone in the organisation will be much more likely to get on board and embrace the change.
As a result, your life will be a lot easier.