QUESTION: "How do I get leadership buy-in?"
Every new organization-wide program or project requires a strong governance structure.
When considering your new continuity or integrated resiliency program, we suggest at a minimum that you have the three following elements in place:
a program policy,
an executive sponsor, and
a steering committee
By establishing an overarching program policy, you set the stage for what you are going to ask leaders to sign off on. This becomes your source of record so everyone understands the what (scope, roles + responsibilities) and why (standards, regulations and strategic alignment). Every policy should include these 5 things:
Roles and Responsibilities
Work with your supervisor to identify candidates that the two of you can approach about serving as your program’s executive sponsor. An executive sponsor is a leader in your organization who will be the champion for your program. They can help “make the case” among their peers.
Sometimes it helps to hear from peers outside of the organization too. Watch and share this 4-minute video sponsored by the California Department of Health and hear from other executive sponsors about the importance of leadership in preparedness and continuity.
Work with your Executive Sponsor to identify leaders that will serve on the steering committee. This can also be an existing committee where the your program becomes a sponsored new agenda item on a regular basis. This committee is not a working group. It is a committee of executives whose roll is to make decisions based on the updates and data you provide to them.
Actions To Take
Identify possible committee members
Establish committee charter
Establish a meeting schedule
Craft letter from executive sponsor to invite committee members
Send meeting invites and agendas well in advance of meetings
Engagement is about relationship building, understanding the priorities of your leadership and learning how to package your message about your program succinctly so you can capitalize on the few minutes you have their attention.
Take the time you need in this leadership engagement phase. It will go a long way when you move forward with your program implementation.
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