Lauren Maschio at NICE explores how to get stakeholder buy-in to support quality management evolution.
If you have great tools but can’t use them effectively, it’s like having a Lamborghini parked in a school zone – regardless of the luxury car’s top speed, you’re not going to get anywhere fast.
That’s according to a VP at a leading bank who spoke at our 2021 Interactions Live conference about the importance of getting stakeholder buy-in for a new initiative or implementation. During the session, she detailed how she and the teams she manages have successfully motivated the bank’s leaders to embrace and implement changes to its analytics-driven quality management program.
“We see a lot of people wanting to work smarter,” she said. “But you can’t always implement best practices without getting the buy-in from executives.”
The importance of getting buy-in cannot be overstated; after all, stakeholders can be partners, champions or even roadblocks. People are naturally resistant to change, but the good news, according to the bank VP, is that a few pro tips can make you more effective at driving change.
Pro Tip #1: Build Trust and Influence
The stronger your relationships and influence within your organization, the easier it will be to gain stakeholder buy-in, whether it be for a new process or a new technology. Among the tactics that can help you build trust and influence:
- Connect with stakeholders: Lead with emotion, whether you already know someone or are meeting them for the first time. Listen actively, be prepared, ask questions and develop rapport.
- Exude confidence: If you’re interacting with an executive for the first time, consider prepping in advance for a smooth, confident delivery. You can ask others who know that stakeholder what he or she likes to do in her free time and what his or her style of communication is.
- Make it safe to fail: No one is perfect, and failure is an important part of life. Make it safe for people to fail—and learn from those failures.
The bottom line: Humans are social creatures who are hard-wired to want to connect with other people. Leverage this innate need to build relationships to gain buy-in for your projects.
Pro Tip #2: Be Simple and Stick to the Facts
You can use data and social proof to your advantage, but remember that it’s a balance between your need to communicate relevant data and your desire to share the details of all the work you’ve put into the project.
- Balance managing relationships with managing your data: Don’t bore your audience with data; learn to keep some of your tactics in your pocket. Ensure that stakeholders understand the accuracy of the data you are presenting.
- Leverage social influence: People will conform in order to be liked. Tactics like combining quantified business value and the fact that a peer organization or competitor is doing it will go far.
The bottom line: If you don’t know how to explain the data and details of your implementation simply, you don’t understand it well enough.
Pro Tip #3: Be Great at Execution
While failure is an important learning tool, your own execution has to be great. Efficacy is effectiveness.
- Be willing to change course: New is always fun, but the party doesn’t end at implementation. Something new, fancier or better is always going to be exciting, which can make it easy to get started, but you need to ensure that you are continuing to evaluate whether the tool or process truly meets your business requirements—and make a change if it doesn’t.
- Make an upfront commitment: Tie the initiative to an operational metric that you will work to influence.
- Measure effectiveness: Keep yourself honest and measure yourselves. Start with a baseline of initial efficacy and sustained efficacy over time. You can leverage surveys, questionnaires, focus groups, key performance indicators and more to gauge how you’re doing.
Bottom line: As legendary management guru Peter Drucker once said, “Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things.”
This blog post has been re-published by kind permission of NICE – View the original post
To find out more about NICE, visit their website.
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