3 Tips for Getting C-Suite Buy-In

Getting C-suite buy-in on project priorities can be as difficult as prioritizing the projects themselves. Here are three tips that can help project professionals make their case.

There is a lot riding on how projects are prioritized in an organization. How projects are greenlit or placed on hold can have a significant impact on the direction of a department and ultimately, the bottom line of the company. 

Project professionals should look across the portfolio to determine which projects will deliver the most value. Once that list is prioritized, the next step is to get that all-important C-suite buy-in. 

“Making C-suites accept your decision may be even harder than making the decision itself,” said Firat Dengiz, PMP, PgMP, PfMP, a program leader at Turkish Aerospace Industries in Ankara, Turkey, during a recent episode of the Projectified® podcast. 

To make the process easier, here are three tips shared by Dengiz and Sunando Chaudhuri, director of IT and a member of the project management office at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company Group, (ADNEC Group).  

Tie priorities to value.
C-suite stakeholders want to ensure that project priorities are tied to strategy and results. 

“There has to be not only a KPI-based, but a value-based approach where you identify what any project or program is going to deliver,” said Chaudhuri. “A linkage with the strategy and the goals and objectives is extremely important. All these things have to be highlighted up front.” 

Chaudhuri recommends explaining the short-term, medium-term and long-term outcomes that are going to be delivered, along with the specific targets to be met.  

“As long as you can showcase this, you would be in a position to provide enough justification and confidence,” Chaudhuri added. 

Engage stakeholders.
Dengiz said he tries to bring stakeholders into the decision-making process. “I try to include the C-suites during the decision-making process,” he said. “The more they are in the process, the more it is possible to ensure their buy-in.” 

Dengiz’s goal is to understand their attitude and approach to projects in relation to the wider portfolio. “In order to let them understand what the project will bring them, I need to understand what their expectation is,” he said. “And then I constantly work with the stakeholders, including the C-suites and the customer. And then I introduce the project to their values and their expectations.”  

Keep it simple.
Executives often face limited time and competing demands. Dengiz recommends keeping the explanation of project priorities simple and brief.  

“The majority of the C-suites that I work with need in-a-nutshell information and would like to go directly to the point,” he said. “For those type of C-suites, simple and on-the-point information will ease the buy-in.”  

To learn more from these professionals about how to get project approval, listen to Making Project Portfolio Decisions—And Getting Buy-In on Projectified®


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