5 steps to initiate leadership buy-in for digital change

Sep 25, 2023
Digital transformation Business optimization

As more organizations transform through digital initiatives, a movement to invest in the implementation of new technology has begun. For these implementations to be successful, technical solutions need to be aligned with the culture, people and processes of the organization.

Leadership, stakeholders and end users all need to play an active part in designing, testing and validating that alignment to feel comfortable adopting any new technology.

Here are five steps organizations can take to help initiate buy-in for digital change and drive active participation and ongoing support for technology implementations:


Ensure there is leadership support

Leaders must embrace the changes first to motivate the rest of the organization. Leadership should create a unified vision for why the organization is investing in the technology and the expectations for departments and individuals. Stakeholder and end-user buy-in comes more easily when the top levels encourage and enable their teams to be engaged throughout the process.


Rely on experience for implementation services

Utilize a software partner and/or third-party project management team that has a clear understanding of your industry and technology. You want a team that has plenty of experience merging technical, procedural and cultural requirements to design successful solutions, and that can translate the process to fit your organization’s needs.


Define roles and responsibilities, including champions and a dedicated project team

The core project team should consist of internal participants from areas like IT or project management, and the external participants mentioned above. The project team will have the role of change agents, responsible for communicating and motivating stakeholders. Additionally, leaders should identify champions within departments who are aligned with the vision for the project. The champions should be enabled to drive decisions for their respective departments, train others and involve them in designing the solution. The champions help the project team to communicate and create change on an individual level.


Understand the impact of change

Take time to learn from both the project sponsors and stakeholders. Study the organization’s history, readiness and capacity to change. There is often an emotional challenge that change presents to those who have always done something one way or have been with an organization for a long time. Getting to the root of these concerns will help set expectations and ahead of the implementation.


Create a communication strategy

The project team should help drive the cadence and forms of communication. Team members should rely on leadership for additional support for messaging to the entire organization. There are three key tasks for broadcasting a vision when implementing a new technology:

  • Articulate the need for change
  • Demonstrate support from leadership
  • Provide a guide to stakeholder roles and responsibilities

The best communication strategies are reinforced through regular, timely messages that are informational and inspirational, and that solicit feedback from stakeholders.

Managing expectations of change for a new technology implementation is crucial to project success. Organizations often fail to address culture within the implementation process and miss the opportunity to build the infrastructure and processes needed to drive change and, ultimately, results.

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