Joe called me last week and started venting about a new programme he was running.
This is how it unfolded.
“Work is crazy busy. I’m now running a programme in a business area that I’ve not worked in before. It’s causing me a bucket load of stress.”
“For instance, I run a monthly global governance meeting with the stakeholders to provide updates on status and request sign off on decisions to move forward. But, no matter how much planning and preparation I do. It always ends up with the decision-makers raising a lot of objections.”
“I am used to handling objections, but because this is a new business area for me, I am unable to answer all of them in the meeting.”
“This results in a lot of follow up work for me to close out these objections as well as arranging, planning, and facilitating additional sign off meetings.”
“Work is just ploughing up behind these meetings, and I am feeling overwhelmed. I even questioned whether I made the right decision in taking this role.”
After Joe paused for a while, I said; “wow that was a vent and a half, do you want to discuss some options?”
He laughed and said “absolutely.”
A Different Perspective
After discussing some options, I remembered the advice a mentor had given me about the way he runs programme stakeholder meetings.
“Joe, do you mind if I share the advice a mentor once gave me?”
“Of course,” said Joe.
“He told me that the way he manages decision-makers for governance meetings is one on one. He arranges a meeting with each decision-maker, takes them through the deck and closes out any objections they have before the final formal group meeting.”
“All objections and answers are incorporated in the final deck and presented to all stakeholders in the final meeting. When asked, all decision-makers sign off without question. It becomes a tick boxing exercise.”
“He called it the Swiss process because he borrowed it from his Swiss counterparts.”
Joe decided to adopt the Swiss process going forward as well as take some subject matter experts with him to each meeting so they can close out questions and objections there and then.
Last time I heard from Joe, the governance meetings ran like a Swiss watch, and he is feeling a lot more confident in this role.
A Takeaway for You
Joe shared with me that he found it valuable seeing the perspectives on how banking programmes were run compared to how they are run in his sector.
How can you get the exposure to different perspectives on how to approach challenges and in turn, enhance your leadership capability and value?