If They Build It, They Will Own It
CEO’s often share with me their ideas for initiatives, programs, and campaigns designed to energize their team members and increase focus. These are well thought out and detailed right down to the last tactic. So far, so good. Now comes the tough part; selling this approach to team members and getting them to “buy in.” There’s a better way.
It is sometimes necessary for organizations to ramp up their sense of urgency and for leaders to remind team members that a “can-do” attitude and inter-department cooperation are essential. Well-designed campaigns can accomplish this while serving as a rallying point throughout the enterprise.
That said, while the CEO can and should help lead these initiatives, they will prove difficult to implement until and unless there is full alignment and enthusiastic support and commitment from senior team members and from the next level of managers and supervisors. Absent that, the program is at risk of quickly running out of steam. This will result in disappointment and will also make it more difficult to create and effectively implement other initiatives going forward.
That’s why it’s a good idea to get team members involved in the build out of most any new program or campaign. People tend to support what they help create, enabling them to take ownership of new initiatives that will increase the likelihood of success. That way, when the program hits a few bumps (and it may), and the naysayers start to chirp (and they may), the response won’t be a rolling of eyes, pointing fingers and saying, “This is the CEO’s program.” Far better for team members to feel ownership and the sense that the initiative belongs to everyone. This reaction is more likely if they have a stake in its creation and implementation. In most cases, some of the very people for whom lack of urgency is a challenge are the ones who must be counted on to move things forward so the positive impact is fully felt.
To that end, the business is best served by leadership presenting a high-level overview of the initiative as they envision it. While the CEO may have a clear idea of the particulars of the roll out, they should invite team members’ ideas and be listening for those most closely aligned with their own. Encourage these ideas in particular. It may not end up as a dead-on match with their tactical plan but close is good enough if team members own it and are committed to it.
For more information on effective implementation of change initiatives, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or visit my website at ajstrategy.com.
Joseph P. Truncale, Ph.D., CAE, is the Founder and Principal of Alexander Joseph Associates, a privately held consultancy specializing in executive business advisory services with clients throughout the graphic communications industry.
Joe spent 30 years with NAPL, including 11 years as President and CEO. He is an adjunct professor at NYU teaching graduate courses in Executive Leadership; Financial Management and Analysis; Finance for Marketing Decisions; and Leadership: The C Suite Perspective. He may be reached at Joe@ajstrategy.com. Phone or text: (201) 394-8160.