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StrategyMay 31, 2011

Part 2: Making Governance a Best Practice When Implementing an Enterprise-Wide CRM

Manish Limaye

Unfortunately, there is a common misconception that steering committee meetings are simply the reporting of status to program leadership. This could not be farther from the truth. Instead, Governance is about decision-making as executives engage in healthy debate over the needs of the ‘many’ and not the ‘one’, even if the ‘one’ happens to be themselves!

Death by Stop Lights

Most steering committee meetings are laden with useless information. Are you part of steering or leadership committee where presentations are status rich and typically take the form of stop lights? Do you find yourself losing interest, checking your mobile device, maybe even texting for help? As a project manager do you elect to leave out the details on purpose? Do you take the contentious issue off the table to avoid painful dialogue? If any of this sounds familiar, you’re not along.

Let’s face it. Conflict is tough. Still, nothing that’s worthwhile is ever easy. In your next CRM steering committee meeting leave the stop lights out, spend 5 minutes on status and engage the group around those two or three critical decisions you have needed answers to for the past few weeks. Let your leaders be leaders. Most got to their respective positions by making critical decisions based on limited information. Use a simple framework to present the options and their relative pros and cons. Be sure to discuss risk associated with each approach and the overall benefit to the program and the business. At that point open up the floor and let the banter begin. Be sure to clearly state the ground rules up front around reaching a decision and be prepared to facilitate and step in if the discussion is moving in the wrong direction.

One thing is certain: this type of approach will increase attendance, lead to better decisions and an overall better outcome for the program. In the end, leaders like to make decisions and that’s exactly what this format requires. On a final note, prior to what you might anticipate to be a heated discussion, be sure to remind the group of its purpose and the need for unity among leaders. While they may not agree on every play in the playbook they must agree that the objective is to score.