Part III: You Have Executive Support. Now What?
Act like it is going to happen
In Part I, I mentioned making executive support public.For any complex project, it is important to develop a constituency – a group of stakeholders who will benefit or play a role in the initiative's success.The broader your initiative's constituency, the better its chances for success.Part of building a broad constituency is continually reinforcing the vision of the project's successful completion."I know this will be a success because of you" is a lot uplifting than "I think we can do this."Inspiring people is part of a leader's job, so don't be afraid to share your confidence and enthusiasm with others.
Remind people of executive oversight
There is often a disconnect between the boardroom and the front line.An executive may pledge his support, but the employees in his department are unaware of this commitment. Don't assume the executive's support has filtered down thorough his department - take the time to explain the project and the executives support when requesting assistance.All levels of the department should be made aware of the executive commitment.
Give people a chance to work the problem
You have a commitment of support from an executive, but a line employee isn't helping.This employee may be facing competing priorities the executive isn't aware of.It may be tempting to immediately call the executive directly when running into obstacles within their department, but I recommend briefing the issue up though the department's chain and giving management a chance to work the issue.Even if the issue isn't resolved and you finally do need to call the executive to resolve the issue, the employees within the department will be less likely to feel blindsided and continue to work with you to resolve future issues.Keep building your constituency as you work through these problems.
If a small problem affecting a big project, it is worthy of an executive's attention
I have mentioned a couple of times to answer specifically when an executive asks how she can support your initiative. Instead of a laundry list of issues, can you ask the executive to make a personnel adjustment or procedural change that would allow you to better address a group of problems? Look for solutions from different levels when eliciting support from your executives. A final note: if a simple problem is halting an entire project, it is worthy of executive attention.