Culture & Competency

Executive Support for New Ways of Collaborating

In my book Collaboration Roadmap, I write about the place of executive support in adoption of new collaboration technologies and approaches to work. When executives get behind new approaches – in deeds more than just words – the results are impressive. But I also make it clear that the executive support strategy has pre-conditions:

There are pre-conditions to using the executive support strategy—make no mistake about that! You can’t just bowl up to an executive and ask them to start doing stuff publicly and within their own work practice without laying any groundwork. In other words, you need to be credible in their eyes (by having a history of delivering good outcomes for the organization), have a credible message (what you are saying is logical and believable, and you can back it up with facts and reasoning), and show a credible link between what you are advocating and the changes and improvements they are trying to bring about in the organization (they can see the value and benefit in line with their wider objectives).

Therefore be very clear that gaining executive support takes time. It’s much less about a conversion experience as a result of a one-time three-minute conversation in the hallway, and much more about relationship building and proving yourself over months and years. If you don’t have it, find someone else who does!

For a complementary view on executive support, see What Sells CEOs an Social Networking, an article in interview format with Professor Andrew McAfee. Andrew shares some good insights on helping senior executives see the opportunities from Enterprise 2.0, including:
– Why “social” as a term has negative connotations.
– Three triggers for senior executive interest/involvement.
– Fears about Enterprise 2.0, and the reality of “shockingly low” evidence for these actually happening.
– On the ongoing role of hierarchy, an official chain of command, and managers.

Categories: Culture & Competency