We work differently now and need new tools to manage the modern workplace. But what happens when those solutions need buy-in from multiple departments? In our experience: inactivity.
A common challenge we see with our clients is gaining cross departmental consensus for new tools that could benefit multiple teams.
Picture this: You’ve found a tool that will dramatically ease your department’s specific challenges. Perhaps that’s data on how office space is being used or driving intentional and easy employee collaboration. And other departments are interested as well.
That’s great, right? A tech tool that could benefit a range of business functions should be easy to implement. But in reality, the more cooks in the kitchen, the longer the process can take.
Here are 4 straightforward steps you can take if you are in this situation and anxious to enact change:
- Determine the stakeholders
- Listen, present, include
- Establish a roadmap
- Present as a unified team
Determine the stakeholders
The first step in gaining consensus is establishing your stakeholders. Which departments are interested in the solution you’ve uncovered – or you think may be interested – and who in that department will be your champion?
Without a champion, or at minimum, someone representative of the larger needs of the group, you risk this department joining the conversation at a later date and creating a delay, or worse, a barrier to implementation.
If you’re not sure who all might benefit from the solution you’re presenting, it’s a good idea to include various strategic leaders at an early stage to avoid challenges later on.
Listen first, present, include
Once you’ve established your group of champions, arrange a high-level discussion to first listen and understand each departments’ challenges relevant to the solution you are promoting, and then to present the solution you are considering for your specific team. If it is of interest to your champions, arrange a second demo so that they can understand the system firsthand. Inclusion at the onset is essential.
Here is a practical example we see with our clients:
The Capella platform has benefits for both HR and Facilities teams, but often one team is keener to get the system in place as it will solve their immediate challenges. When this happens, we often suggest to include leaders from both functions at an early stage, either on the first demo, or on a follow up call.
Even if both departments do not start using the platform at the same time, we see much faster success in this scenario as both teams are on the same page and can present to leadership as a united voice.
Establish a roadmap
At this stage it is imperative to establish what the decision-making process will be. Three important questions to ask:
- What budget will this be aligned to?
- Will this need to be presented to more senior leadership?
- What is the urgency/timeline to implement?
The sense of urgency across stakeholders, including leadership, will depend on how immediate the pain is that the tool will solve. This is where a unified voice across departments is necessary.
Present as a unified voice
Prepare a concise and compelling pitch that highlights the specific benefits of the technology solution for your department, other stakeholders, and perhaps most importantly, the bottom line. Emphasise how it addresses the challenges faced by each department and how it can benefit the business as a whole.
When presenting to senior leadership, money talks. The objectives of the company and bottom line will motive the approval as much as the benefit to your specific department. Make sure to attach a monetary amount to the benefit of the tool.
For instance: how will the tool provide cost savings, or greater efficiencies, improved employee engagement or retention, or sustainability gains?
When you find a tool that you’re excited about, and that will make your life easier, it’s exciting! But it can also be daunting when you realise that other departments will need to be involved. But if you follow these steps: establish your stakeholders, listen, present and include, set your roadmap and present as a unified voice to leadership, you can greatly reduce the time it takes to get your solution across the line. And you’ll be bringing benefit to other teams and your company at the same time. It’s a win win.