How to secure sponsorship and commitment to your shared services
Finance shared services
I have been spending the last few weeks speaking to heads of shared services and global business services for the sharedserviceslink.com European Summit for Leaders in Shared Services. I’ve heard some great insights into how they have created and grown their global shared services, their success factors and what bumps they had along the way.
I wrote about some of the lessons learned in my blog last week, but I thought I would expand a little more on the topic that never fails to pop up, and that is on the minds of every shared services professional.
How do you get and keep sponsorship and commitment from senior management?
It’s such an important topic, so I wanted so share a few more insights from what I’ve learned in my research.
Who: In many leading global business services the most instrumental figures have been the CEO and CFO. To manage change on a global scale, you need the most senior support you can get.
Why: Change is rarely easy. When it is, it’s because there is 100% commitment from the top. Moving to shared services and global business services is not generally a grass-roots effort. Until people start realising the benefits of shared services, they are often resistant to change. With most shared services leaders I spoke to, it had been a top-down approach with clear communication from the very top that led to success.
What do senior management need to know? CEOs and CFOs will need to have a holistic approach for driving growth, profitability and share value. In their view, all elements of the business should support these critical attributes, and your shared services need to align with these priorities.
How do you keep them on your side? In the eyes of senior management, your shared services need to support the business and the financial bottom line. Keep in mind any quick-wins and financial gains that you can feedback to them to keep them encouraged and on your side.
When change is difficult and people don’t agree with what you are trying to do, they may try to go over your head. If the CEO supports you, and backs you, people won’t be able to undermine you.
How have you got senior management to support your shared services? How have you managed to get and keep their support?