Four Ways to Get Executive Buy-in to Your Creative Ideas

Since the Next Top Credit Union Executive competition, people have asked me how to get buy-in from their executive team for some of their creative ideas.  I’m lucky enough that the executive management at my Credit Union allows for creativity to flow and has given us the freedom to execute on some of the zany stuff we have done.  But it wasn’t always so easy.  When we made our first Banks? No Thanks! video, it was met with a certain level of skepticism from most people.  The CEO was encouraging, but there was hesitation from most as YouTube and social media were not ‘things’ we had done before.  To help you get your zany, innovative ideas accepted, I’ve compiled a list of four ways to get executive buy-in to your creative ideas.

  1. Hire the right executive team.  Okay, maybe it’s not your choice.  But having a strong supportive executive team to begin with is critical!
  2. Do your homework.  Who can you engage with your idea?  What benefits might it have?  What is your Credit Union missing out on? For us, we knew we needed to pay attention to the younger demographic for sustainability.  Yet, all of our existing touch points with potential members were through channels focused on an older demographic (e.g., newspaper).  To attract a younger demographic, we needed to do something different.
  3. Prove the idea works.  Even if it’s on your own time or away from work, create a proof-of-concept.  For us, we created the Banks? No Thanks! videos mostly outside of work hours.  When the first video was created, THAT was the point at which we generated buy-in. We actually showed the finished product to the executive management team rather than trying to explain it conceptually beforehand.  I found this was very effective.  Mind you, if your concept costs a lot of money to create and demonstrate – perhaps you may want to consider narrowing the focus of the proof-of-concept.
  4. Own it.  Not everyone is going to ‘get it’.  You might have people questioning your idea.  That’s okay!  If you believe in your idea, you must be your biggest advocate for it.

There you go!  That’s what we did and it seemed to work.  Feel free to contact me if you have any comments or questions.  For now, C.U. Soon!