Albert Einstein once said, “Setting an example is not the main means of influencing others, it is the only means.” Having been involved in healthcare technology since the early 2000’s, I have seen budgets drained and projects shelved due to a lack of buy-in – starting at the top. The software is often the scapegoat for a failed project when the real culprit is a lack of understanding of why the software is being implemented in the first place. It is up to leadership to fully understand the importance of the project and to communicate their vision throughout the organization. With a forecast of over four trillion dollars spent on technology in 2019, the stakes are high. Organizations that are able to successfully implement their technology projects will have a distinct advantage over those who cannot. Here are a few suggestions for leaders to express their buy-in for a project while also gaining support from others on the team:
- Develop an “elevator pitch” that explains the project and the potential benefits in a few sentences. This can help to gain support among other leaders in your organization.
- Create stories that clearly demonstrate how the project will help employees in various departments perform their jobs more efficiently and effectively. These stories should be specific to the job functions and pain points the project is trying to address.
- Do not assume that people will understand the “why” of your project. Even those close to the project will benefit from reinforcement of the project’s objectives.
- Check in with the project team on a regular basis, preferably face to face. This is especially important if you are planning to make any major changes in direction. Take the time upfront to gain the team’s buy-in for the change.
- Publish dashboards and project metrics that show how the project is moving forward. Make sure that other leaders within the organization are aware of the progress.
- Stay engaged with the project and watch for any issues or barriers that may impact the project’s success. Be approachable and always ask the team how you can help.
- Celebrate successes with the team. Chime in on emails and acknowledge the team’s contributions. Your employees will feel energized by your personal commitment to the project.
By working closely with various departments and staying engaged throughout the project, there will be a natural shared interest in project’s success across the organization. As a leader with too many things on your plate, it is easy to step back from projects and let the team handle it. But if you want to make sure your project maintains its momentum from conception through completion, keep your finger on the pulse. If you notice that a project is starting to slip, take action right away to get things back on track.