Sometimes the ability to ensure Executive buy-in can be the difference between giving your team the sponsorship they need to succeed, or dooming their efforts to failure. Whilst all Executives will be used to the ‘cut & thrust’ of a normal Board meeting, they are often feel ill-at-ease by the Programme Boards of Transformations, as the one thing they’re usually not experienced in is transforming the global ways of working for their entire organisation.
A few simple rules usually help set up your Programme Boards for success...
- Get the foundations right: Terms of Reference are a must – everyone must have a role to play and the decision making powers and rules of escalation need to be laid out early.
- Set the benchmark for content early: Define a Board Pack structure which is simplified where possible and which has a recognisable format from one meeting to the next.
- Help them see the wood from the trees: Where Red statuses are given, define the path back to green. Where possible indicate trending of RAGs.
- Sensitize them to the problems early: Don’t run a content-less Board. Sensitize your stakeholders to the ongoing problems and call out the ‘ones to watch’.
- Simple, intuitive content is key for trust: A cluttered slide or confusing message often infer confusion in the programme. Avoid hiding bad news in volumes of material.
- Transparency is key: Where you or your team have made mistakes, concisely state it. Avoid defensive rhetoric and be quick to accept blame (if valid) and move on.
- Provide them the benefit of experience: Always contextualise the status and problems – is this normal or common at this stage?
Hearts & Minds: Build relationships outside of the Boardroom so you can lean on them during tough Board session.