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How to Win Executive Support to Drive Your Ideas Forward

Win Executive Support for Your Ideas
Profile photo of May Busch
Written by May Busch

Executive career coach May Busch shares 3 tips for winning support from key stakeholders to help you get the green light you need to innovate your talent acquisition and Recruitment Marketing strategy.

How to Win Executive Support to Drive Your Ideas Forward
5 (100%) 6 votes

2020 has been a year of major change and disruption. Your executive teams have been working hard to reinvent your organization’s business models and operations. And by the same token, you’ve probably been working hard to reinvent your talent acquisition, HR, Recruitment Marketing and employer branding practices too.

Whether it’s creating a new virtual candidate experience or finding creative Recruitment Marketing channels to reach candidates in different geographic markets, you’re likely exploring new strategies and approaches to adapt to the current environment.

This means, you’re likely swimming in new waters and that can be scary — particularly when it comes to asking internal stakeholders to support new initiatives that may not be tried and tested yet!

Working so closely with executives, I know a thing or two about how to get buy-in from your organizational leadership teams. To help you get the green light that you need to innovate in your TA and Recruitment Marketing strategy, I want to share three tips with you on how you can win internal support from key stakeholders to push your bold ideas forward in 2021.

Rally note: May Busch will be keynoting our RallyFwd Virtual Conference on Dec. 2! She’ll share specific strategies that you can use to blaze your career path forward in 2021. Learn more and register here >

RallyFwd Virtual Conference - Dec. 2, 2020

1. Represent yourself the right way to build credibility

There are two types of moments that you can take advantage of to make yourself shine. The first is the “stand out” moments. These are more formal moments where you know you’re being watched — like when you’re presenting your new employer brand strategy to leadership or you’re pitching a new recruiting campaign to department heads. We are often mindful to bring our best selves to these moments because we know we’re being evaluated.

Stand out moments are a great opportunity to build credibility for yourself. Being impressive in that leadership meeting or nailing that campaign pitch are moments people are going to remember because you knocked it out of the park when it mattered. When you can consistently perform well in stand out moments, executives will know they can trust you to do what’s best for the organization.

The second kind of moment is the “everyday moment.” These are your day-to-day moments, like routine team meetings or how you engage with your coworkers.

These moments can build you up or break you down too. These are the moments that define what you do and how you act when you don’t think anybody is looking. And when you’re not mindful of how you come across in these moments, they can quickly become “stand out” moments — for better or for worse.

You’d be surprised how much executives take notice of these moments. Executives always have their ear to the ground. They hear when someone is an absolute rockstar or a pain to work with.

These moments are also credibility builders. So take note of how you’re representing yourself in both of these moments. Do you show up to meetings early and prepared? How do you respond to requests from managers and executives?

Make it easy for people to form the right impression of you — that way they’ll be more eager to work with you and receptive to your new ideas.

2. Show that you have an informed opinion (and back it up with data)

When you’re trying to showcase your expertise, communicate your recommendations or propose a new strategy, it’s important that you articulate your position clearly, explain the business impact of the alternatives and outline the next steps.

A highly effective way to do this is to create a story or narrative to make your point. Then make observations and use the data to back it up. The facts and figures are really important to corroborate your perspective, but it’s important that you show the larger picture and put the data into context the right way (which is where the narrative and observations come into play).

For example, sharing survey results about your candidate experience will provide important data points that can support your proposal for investing in new recruiting technology. But combine that with anecdotal stories told to you by recruiters, hiring managers, and even candidates themselves, and describe the impact their experience had on the company’s ability to close key prospects on accepting your offer.

Lastly, take charge and create a roadmap of exactly what needs to happen to put  your proposal into action. After presenting your ideas, say “as a next step, I propose we…” instead of “so, how would you like to proceed?” This will encourage leaders to take action and to see you as someone confident who takes charge.

Leaders want to solve problems too, especially those problems that are limiting the company’s growth potential or affecting the company’s ability to achieve its strategy. And your role in bringing in the right people at the right time is a critical factor that smart leadership teams will prioritize.

Leaders want to solve problems too, especially those problems that are limiting the company’s growth potential or affecting the company’s ability to achieve its strategy. And your role in bringing in the right people at the right time is a critical factor that smart leadership teams will prioritize.

3. Think and sound like a leader

Communicating and working with executives is a whole other ball game. Executives see across the whole organization and connect the dots from top to bottom. So to win them over, you need to draw a picture of how your ideas fit into their view.

Particularly in these uncertain times, you’ll want to demonstrate how your ideas bring value or make an impact on the organization as a whole. For example, a topic in many board rooms is digital transformation. Executives are making decisions right now to invest in new technologies and strategies that will keep them competitive and give them an edge.

How do your strategies make your team or department a leader in digital transformation? What will that do to support the company’s immediate goals and long-term strategy? And what are the ramifications if the company takes no action or doesn’t support your recommendations? Executives need to know what to expect if they act or take no action.

Now that you’re thinking like an executive, you also want to make sure that you’re speaking their language! If you sound like a leader, then your execs will see you as one of them — and that will make them more likely to be open to your new ideas. Here are a few tips to sound like a leader:

  • Take note of which phrases you use that land well with others and which ones leave them confused. Then make an intentional effort to use language that resonates.
  • Pay attention to your “soundtrack.” If you had a recording of yourself in the last 24 hours, what words and phrases would your “soundtrack” be filled with? Is your vocabulary filled with “no”, “but” or “I can’t?” Or are you open to new ideas and staying positive? Most leaders didn’t get to where they are today by saying “I can’t do that.”
  • Use positive words. When you use only positive words, you immediately become someone people want to be around. Be intentional about using words that open up conversations rather than shut them down. Next time, try replacing “we can’t …” with “what if…”

Finally, know your audience. What are the priorities of this particular executive? How do you, your team, your ideas, your proposals help support their success? In other words, if you want them to see you as strategic, you must talk like you are plugged into what the strategy is and how your work is in alignment with theirs.

Ultimately, the key to getting buy-in is this: Remember that every moment matters, articulate your opinions and ideas, back them up with data, and “walk and talk” like a leader with an understanding of what their priorities are. Every day you have opportunities to inspire your team and impress your stakeholders. It’s up to you to make the most of these moments.

Join me at this year’s RallyFwd on December 2, 2020. In my closing keynote session, I’ll present important advice on how to make your role more strategic to help propel your career to the next stage. I’ll also share more tips on how to win support from key stakeholders to move your bold talent acquisition ideas forward. Register today.

Accelerate bookBONUS!

The Rally community can download a free copy of the first chapter of May Busch’s book, Accelerate: 9 Capabilities to Achieve Success at Any Career Stage. Download the free chapter here >

How to Win Executive Support to Drive Your Ideas Forward
5 (100%) 6 votes

About the Author

Profile photo of May Busch

May Busch

May Busch is an international executive and career coach, speaker, facilitator and the author of Accelerate: 9 Capabilities to Achieve Success at Any Career Stage. She is passionate about helping people thrive at work and reach their full potential.

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