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Making it Happen: Gaining Leadership Buy-In for Your Talent Management Programs
The creation and implementation of Talent Management, Leadership Development, and Organizational Development initiatives enables organizations to successfully compete in the global business world.  Through our role as strategic enablers of key processes and tools, we create business value and help empower managers and employees.  In order to help drive and support the required changes, we must become active business partners.  Crucial to our success in changing old paradigms, is to gain the buy-in and support of the leadership team.  Gaining that buy-in will make all the difference in terms of our success.

As HR professionals, we must influence the leadership team by establishing strong interpersonal relationships, communicating regularly, influencing decisions, overcoming conflict and challenging situations, and receiving feedback on the effectiveness of our key initiatives.  To ensure our success, there are key guidelines we can follow.  They include:

  1. Know Your Client

Be aware of the leadership and decision making styles of the leadership team members.  It is imperative to gain an understanding of the challenges they face as well past successes and failures.  You must also be able identify the leaders’ specific goals and how your initiative ties into those goals.  When building rapport, consider their interests, experiences, strengths, backgrounds, and priorities.  Ask what metrics they view as most important to the initiative.

  1. Know Your Organization

The most critical knowledge you must have is tied to the organization’s vision, mission, strategic goals, and culture.   Included also is a clear understanding of the organization’s structure and systems that are currently in place. It is helpful to know who the major decision makers and influencers are and the roles they want to play in the initiatives.

  1. Know Yourself

As you start working with your leadership team, be sure of the value proposition you bring to your clients.  Bring in stories and examples to help demonstrate the potential benefits of your proposition.   Know how you are viewed in the organization and leverage past successes.  If possible, create behind the scene coalitions to ensure word about you gets to your clients prior to first meeting.

  1. Communicate Effectively

Ask open ended questions to help the client open up and share feelings/thoughts about the situation. Actively listen to what the senior leaders tell you.  Be sure to listen fully, focus on the important points, use positive body language, show empathy, be direct and be honest.  Set up informal meetings for quick feedback opportunities and to clarify issues as they arise.  Also plan regular formal meetings to provide updates, make decisions, and solicit help when needed.

  1. Focus on Solutions that will Make a Difference

Be sure you have done a thorough analysis of the business needs before presenting solutions.  Go into the meetings armed with data and metrics.  Show passion and excitement for your ideas but be sure in the end, the solutions will demonstrate benefits to the business partners.  Avoid a long laundry list of solutions and focus on the top 2 -3 solutions that will have the greatest impact on the strategic goals and vision.

  1. Present Metrics and Benefits

To ensure that the leaders are listening, you must speak their language.  The language of business is metrics.  Metrics tied to problems and solutions will gain the interest and support of the leaders.  Similarly, you must clearly emphasize the WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) to the leaders.  They must understand the benefits of the solutions to them as well as to the organization.

  1. Make it a Learning Opportunity for the Leaders

When working with your leaders, take the time to teach them more about the initiatives.  This includes a deep understanding of the what, why, who, and how you will resolve their issues and its impact on the business.

When you communicate with passion and excitement, listen with empathy, and collaborate with the leaders, you will have the power to influence.  You can make a difference in the organization and help them successfully achieve their goals through the effective utilization of human capital resources.

Author: Susan Gervasi, Senior OD Consultant, HR Talent Pro and Lead Facilitator, Institute of Organization Development. She can be reached at susan_gervasi@yahoo.com.

Additional information: Preparing and Facilitating Feedback Sessions, Presenting Data and Observations, Gaining Agreement and Buy-in, and Setting Priorities is part of our Organization Development Certification Program (ODCP). To learn more or to register for our next ODCP program, please click on the relevant link below.