What decides the fate of your process improvement initiative? What decides whether your process improvement project will fail or scale? The answer is people—and, more importantly, at the top. Leaders drive the change.
The support and commitment of the executive team sets the tone for the rest of the organisation and provides the resources and authority necessary to drive change. On the flip side, in the absence of leadership support your project will likely see delays and limited success.
Why is leadership support critical?
Leadership buy-in is essential for the success of any process improvement initiative and supports it in below ways:
Targeted efforts: Without leadership buy-in, process improvement efforts can become fragmented and ineffective. Active leadership support ensures that all improvement efforts align with organisational goals of increasing efficiency, cost savings, and customer satisfaction.
Availability of resources and budget: For the timely execution of the project, budget allocation for necessary tools, technologies and team and support to train employees are imperative. All this can only be ensured when the leader is actively engaged.
Manage Resistance to Change: When leaders are involved in the process improvement efforts, it sends a message to the rest of the organisation that these initiatives are a priority. Leaders can also prove crucial in getting other departments and teams on board that may be impacted by the change. This can help mitigate potential resistance and ensure that everyone works together towards a common goal.
Create a culture of continuous improvement: Strong leadership buy-in helps to create a sustainable and productive environment focused on continuous improvement. When leaders showcase positive results of process improvement and how they impact business results, it motivates the team to participate in process improvement efforts.
How to Ensure Leadership Buy-in
Here are five effective strategies to get leadership buy-in:
1. Engage early: Engaging the leaders in the early stage is essential. Leaders should be informed about the project goal and included in key decisions, such as toolset selection, process improvement plan, etc. This will build momentum and ensure that leaders feel connected with the project. Share regular updates and progress reports and seek their feedback and input to keep them invested.
2. Understand their priorities: Targeting the pain points that leaders want to address or objectives they are highly invested in will tilt the scale in your favour. For instance, you need to evaluate whether the leader you are approaching is more concerned about controlling risk and compliance at the moment or standardising processes for an improved customer experience. Using these insights and showcasing how process improvement can help achieve these priorities is an easy way to get the leadership team to listen.
3. Give them a clear picture: Leaders may have concerns about process improvement initiatives, such as the cost or disruption to the business. Be sure to update them about the potential hurdles and present a possible plan to mitigate these challenges. Think about how you can present a clear picture of rewards vs risks. Highlight how your business teams can benefit from improvement efforts and become more efficient and productive.
4. Show evidence: Use data to demonstrate the effectiveness of process improvement initiatives and how they have improved outcomes in similar organisations. Some statistics and figures from similar industry use case is a powerful way to build credibility and quickly grab the leadership team’s attention.
5. Choose the right pilot: Finally, choosing the right process to initiate your improvement journey is vital. The process should help you clearly showcase the achievements and the value of process improvement, which will prove crucial to get leadership buy-in for future improvement projects. Thus, look for a high-volume, high-frequency, manual-intensive process with a tremendous amount of handover points between team members for a pilot. Improving such a process will help you highlight positive outcomes.
Get Leadership On Board with Process Insights
Getting commitment from your leadership team becomes easier if you have the relevant data to highlight the current process issues, how they will be addressed and what will be the business impact.
With a cloud-based process improvement tool, PRIME BPM, you can access this key data with a click of a button. PRIME BPM software provides actionable insights on process cost, efficiency and time within a minute with the help of its powerful in-built analytics engine. You can also quickly identify how much money and time is wasted performing non-value-adding activities and see how your process efficiency compares to the industry threshold.
Further, you can simulate future state processes before implementation and carry out what-if analysis scenarios to understand the impact before committing to the change. These valuable process-related insights come in handy to showcase the potential of process improvement for your business and gain executive commitment.
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