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Getting your senior stakeholders to embrace the change

Nihal Salah
Feb 18 2020

Getting your senior stakeholders to embrace the change

A few weeks ago, I published an article about finding the courage to create content (if you haven’t read it, check it out 👉 here). I made a promise to my readers. They could ask me any question and I’d go and find a subject matter expert to interview for the answer. 

I was absolutely blown away by the response 😊! Questions started flowing in and as someone with insatiable curiosity, I couldn’t wait to start finding the answers.   

One of the questions that I was asked a few times was how do you get your senior stakeholders to buy into the potential Fuse can bring to your organisation? How do you get them to really embrace what Fuse has to offer? 🤔

To find the answer, I spoke to Fuse customers, Fuse employees and I reached out to industry experts. I’m really excited to share what I learned during these conversations! I’ve got too much gold to put into one post so I'll be creating a series of posts to cover this topic. 

I hope you find these useful and please keep your questions coming!  

Part 1: Start on common ground

For this first post, I interviewed Bruce Swan, European Customer Care Manager at Panasonic. His team launched Fuse into their global call centres in Q1 2019 and have had incredible results. Their staff retention and NPS scores went up by more than 25% 📈 since launch. 

These are the four things Bruce and the team focused on to get stakeholder buy-in when they decided to adopt Fuse: 

🤝 Get everyone aligned on the business problem 
🌀 Start small and slowly expand your circle of advocates 
✋🏽 When met with resistance, simplify
📊 Use data to tell a better story

1. Get everyone aligned on the problem 🤝

There’s a brilliant quote that says “fall in love with the problem not the solution”. It’s human nature to want to dive into solutions as quickly as possible. But without getting key stakeholders aligned on the problem that needs to be solved, it will be incredibly difficult to get any consensus on the solution. So always start with the problem.

For example, a business problem might be high staff attrition. There’s a sunken cost of onboarding and training staff which can easily be quantified to demonstrate the financial impact of this problem. Numbers will speak louder than words!  

Bruce says it’s important to have a conversation with business leaders about the source of the problems you’re trying to solve. Otherwise, you can end up tackling symptoms rather than the underlying cause. 

Once you’ve figured out what the root case is, it’s time to establish quantifiable business objectives.  

So, how's this done in practice? I caught up with Bruce at Learning Technologies to pick his brain about how his team got buy-in from senior stakeholders at Panasonic. Please excuse the quality of the audio - it was very loud at the venue!  


2. Start small and slowly expand your circle of advocates 🌀

At Panasonic, Bruce says they incubate projects to give them a higher chance of succeeding. As tempting as it can be, don’t start with a big bang. Start small, experiment, reflect on and share the lessons. 

As you nurture the project and start to see your success criteria being met, this is when you want to start communicating the successes more broadly with the business, and most importantly, with the senior stakeholders you need buy-in from. This takes time and consistency so patience is a virtue! 

Have a regular drumbeat of content that you share with stakeholders to demonstrate the positive results your hard work is bringing about. 


3. When met with resistance, simplify ✋🏽

When we’re met with resistance, it’s easy to become defensive. We can end up going straight into thinking about proving our business case. Off we go creating decks with lots of charts and numbers, preparing our counter arguments.

It seems counterintuitive, but when you’re faced with resistance, scale back, simplify and go back to the objectives. These are what you already have agreement on so they’re a great starting point to manage resistance. It's also really helpful to ask the right questions to unpick where the resistance is coming from. 'Why?' is one of the most effective questions you can ask. 

A useful tip Bruce talks about is making sure your objectives are small, simple and succinct. This will help ensure every key stakeholder understands what you’re trying to achieve. It then becomes a lot easier to quickly demonstrate measurable value against those objectives. 


4. Tell a better story with Data  📊

It’s always a good idea to quantify the business value you're bringing to the organisation and articulate it with a data-based story. I love this short video by Harvard Business Review on how to tell a great story with data in 3 steps

If you keep objectives simple, small and succinct, then telling your story with data will be much easier than you’d think. 


I hope you found this post useful😊. I'd love to hear your feedback and any questions you have on this topic. Just drop a comment below👇🏽. 

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