The Complete List for Getting Buy-In From Senior Leadership
Senior leaders have authority to authorize action and provide resources.
You’ll go further with buy-in from higher-ups.
The complete list for getting buy-in from senior leadership:
#1. Rash requests don’t impress.
Don’t rush in all breathless with a brilliant new idea.
Your great idea will be even better after careful reflection.
#2. Develop a reputation for excellence and loyalty.
- Get on their team before asking others to get on yours.
- Serve the interests of others if you expect them to have interest in your ideas.
- Help others succeed before asking them to help you succeed.
#3. Don’t let others present your idea for you.
#4. Suggest projects that serve interests beyond personal success.
Ambition is useful when it rises beyond itself.
Senior leaders want to know how you’ll make life better for teams, organizations, and customers.
Self-serving projects generate friction in organizations.
How does your great idea serve the interest of others?
#5. Create your moment.
You may end up waiting longer than you like. Senior leaders are often rushed and distracted.
Your great idea is worthy of attention. Be patient.
Don’t make your request a life or death moment, if possible.
Create curiosity. Make small suggestions. Watch for interest. If you don’t see interest, pull back. Try a new approach another time.
#6. Seize your moment.
- Don’t begin with complaints. Complaining doesn’t impress senior leaders.
- Act and speak with respect.
- Align with their interest. “I’ve been thinking about how to reach new customers.”
#7. Plan before presenting your idea.
Senior leaders don’t have time to brainstorm ideas with you.
- Tell a brief story of how others are struggling, disappointed, or frustrated. Describe the problem or opportunity briefly, simply, clearly, and with compassion.
- Describe a solution.
- Define specific deliverables.
- Explain timelines.
- Request resources.
What suggestions might you add to the ‘complete’ list of ways to get buy-in from senior leaders?
What should we avoid when trying to get buy-in from senior leadership?
Great advise on how to step in the shoes of the audience we are trying to reach. I’ve failed to move on from steps 1 and 2 because I’ve felt like my enthusiasm is where my “lane” ends and the alignment with further goals is to step on other’s toes. This gives me something clear and forward-moving to try. Thank you, Dan!
SOME senior leaders ARE “possibilities sorters” and like to play a bit with an idea rather than have it forced upon them as a fully completed, cost / benefit analyzed package. To them, that begs for a Yes / No with the latter probably being the most common. To them, having a bit of active ownership involvement is a good thing to allow to happen.
Some are simply going to sort on cost / benefit and will want a fully fleshed out idea with risks and rewards spelled out in detail, probably along with an implementation plan. We can call these people, “outcome sorters.” And those are probably the most common, since so many senior managers tend to come from finance or some other kind of controlling framework.
Simply put, “Nobody ever washes a rental car,” and I can remember many times I have failed to present things in such a way that the decision-maker fails to develop ownership and then simply lets the improvement initiative die off as something else becomes more interesting to them. This also affects how things flow downhill, too, in that nobody wants things pushed at them.
Most of my experiences have been as you outline as well as Dr. Simmerman have listed the Sorters, Accoutants, possible or maybe, but none the less how will this be beneficial and what is our ROI?
So be prepared to slash the Dragon with dollars signs, values of benefits and the fastest ROI and you may get a nice presentation but not this year. Somethings just take time, patience, fortitude and a lot of presentation and perhaps an outside resource like a grant! So seek all venues when trying to sell a sales pitch.
Great reminder and list. These tactics should be used for all, not just at higher levels. I’ve worked with and managed many operators that just did not or was not willing to utilize these ideas.
In the end, they just became disgruntled instead of trying to understand why their ideas were dismissed.
Sculpturing one’s idea around the mission, vision and goals of the organisation.