The importance of getting buy-in on global projects

Many of us have the opportunity to work with clients that have a global presence – developed either through expansion of their US-based businesses or acquisition. Occasionally the projects that we implement for these companies are rolled out globally or have other global implications.

One thing that I have learned in working on such projects is the importance of getting buy-in from all of the affected regions.  There is a potential (and in some companies, likelihood) that projects originating in US headquarters create a feeling that something is being forced upon everyone in a one-size-fits-all fashion, generating resentment and a high probability of poor results. This is particularly a problem in projects that require specific action by stakeholders, such as process changes, collaboration or vendor consolidation. Different regions/divisions/subsidiaries are likely organized differently and have challenges adhering to the new model. Cultural differences can also play a role.

There is no question that the process of developing global consensus for a project takes more time than centralized planning. However, from the perspective of generating results, I look at it as:

–         80% planning : 20% implementation = good chance of success versus

–        20% planning : 50% implementation : 30% modification = good chance of partial success at best

You can debate the percentages, but the concept is key.

I had the opportunity to work on a project where global input was taken very seriously, and the result was global buy-in. I have also worked on projects where it was not, or “there wasn’t time”, and the results were mixed (good in the US, mediocre to bad elsewhere). My advice is, if you are assigned to a project that potentially has global impact for a client, go on record with your concerns if the client is not addressing the issue for any reason.

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