by Dean Witherspoon   Dean's profile on LinkedIn  

In many instances, the larger the organization we work with, the more cooks in the kitchen — Wellness, IT, Legal, HR, Communications, PR, and Purchasing can all have a role. When decision makers from various departments take time to understand what the wellness manager is attempting to implement, things can go smoothly. But if they’re just trying to complete a checklist without considering the details, the result can be unnecessary meetings, delays, and added expense — enough hassle that some prospective clients just say never mind. If we can sense that’s about to happen, we often propose these steps to get past the initial hurdles and put everyone on the same page.

  1. Ask stakeholders to participate in a pilot. “We’re considering contracting for health promotion services and would like your participation in a wellness campaign pilot.” Explain that it won’t require a lot of their time, will be fun and healthy, and needs their vitally important input to move forward.

  2. Call a meeting of stakeholders. As much as it pains us to suggest this, some people can’t seem to do anything new without convening a meeting. Take 10 minutes to explain what you’re trying to do, why it’s important to the well-being of the organization, and why you need their help. Reiterate that although it’s a minimal time commitment, you’re depending on their involvement to make a smart decision for the organization. If any one of the stakeholders doesn’t attend, seek them out — face to face if possible.

  3. Invite at least 3 dozen real participants to the pilot. You need some input from typical users to show stakeholders this is something employees will value. Without it, the loudest objecting voice can torpedo the effort before it gets off the ground.

  4. Summarize pilot results. If stakeholders take their role in the pilot seriously, they’ll not only understand the campaign, but will see the value for organizational wellness. If they don’t, be prepared with participant feedback. Typical questions to conclude a pilot:

    • Would you participate in this service if offered through the wellness program? Why or why not?
    • Do you think this service has value for ABC Company? Why or why not?
    That’s it; 2 questions will tell you all you need to know. Resist the temptation to get into the weeds of all elements in the service. You’re simply trying to make a case for or against moving forward with the program and give all stakeholders a common understanding of why.

Completing these steps in a bureaucratic environment can help pave the way to a successful launch.

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