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PLM Advocacy: What Executive Buy-In Really Means

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To understand some of the challenges around executive leadership with …

To understand some of the challenges around executive leadership with
large-scale PLM initiatives, PTC’s Rob Leavitt asked Ridley about lessons
learned from her work on PLM programs with a wide range of consumer
goods, finance, and technology firms.

Published in: Technology

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  • 1. Global Services InsightsPLM Advocacy:What Executive Buy-In Really MeansCynthia Ridley heads the Innovation & Change LeadershipPractice for Kalypso, a fast-growing innovation and PLM(Product Lifecycle Management) consulting firm. With morethan 20 years experience in engineering, operations, andexecutive coaching, Ridley specializes in executive team Cynthia Ridleyalignment, leadership development, and change manage- Heads the Innovation & Changement for PLM and new product development initiatives. Leadership Practice for KalypsoTo understand some of the challenges around executive leadership withlarge-scale PLM initiatives, PTC’s Rob Leavitt asked Ridley about lessonslearned from her work on PLM programs with a wide range of consumergoods, finance, and technology firms. Here’s what she had to say:Leavitt: The importance of executive sponsorship for PLMis hardly a new or ignored topic. Why is it still so difficultfor companies to get this right?Ridley: Everyone knows that executive sponsorship is important. Butsimple sponsorship is not enough to ensure a successful program withreal business impact. The real challenge is having executive advocatesthat are passionate about the initiative being successful, that constantlyshare their vision, and that make it important to their direct reports. It’sactually rare to have this kind of executive advocacy.More often I see executives that approve the budget and think theprogram is a good idea, but they also think it is someone else’s responsi-bility to make it happen. They delegate their advocacy to someone lowerlevel and it doesn’t work. Or they don’t deal with resistance from peers orothers in upper management. And they don’t hold people accountablefor actually delivering against interim milestones.PTC.com PTC | 1
  • 2. Leavitt: Is it simply a matter of time? Do executivesponsors simply need to spend more time lobbying and About PTC Global Servicesmonitoring and demanding accountability for results? The 1,400 professionals at PTC GlobalRidley: Time is certainly an issue but they also need to know how to be an Services help the world’s leading manufac-effective advocate. One thing that is seldom addressed in planning, for turing companies gain product and serviceexample, is building alignment at the senior management and executive advantage through solution strategy andlevels. How can you influence the right people to ensure their advocacy, design, process transformation, technologytoo? This speaks to politics, power, and control across the organization configuration, and organizational training– the things that usually matter most but are typically not included in and adoption. Our in-house experts andproject plans. premium services partners work overtime to ensure the best possible results andIf you’re the advocate, you need to connect the dots for other executives maximum return on investment.and make the program relevant at the strategic level. You need to createa vision for PLM that is connected to business strategy and provides a Learn more at PTC.com/consultingreason for other executives to support the investment. This effort is often For more Insights from the Global Servicesshort cut and you end up without real alignment. Without that alignment team, please visit:and that buy-in at the executive level, it’s much harder for programs like blogs.ptc.com/category/strategy/PLM that cut across different silos to succeed. Or scan this code with your mobile device.Leavitt: But it takes more than just the vision, right?Ridley: The vision is just the beginning. You also need to understand howto bring the organization through a major change which usually requiresa continual effort to win advocates throughout the organization andaddress the resistance that is always present.This means building out maps of stakeholders, looking at the impact of About the Authorthe new solutions on them, identifying advocates, understanding how Rob Leavitt is Director of Thought Leadershipto influence different stakeholders, and building the right relationships at PTC Global Services, the consulting armat the executive level. If you don’t win those advocates at the executive of PTC. A long-time advisor to top tech-and senior management levels you risk resistance that filters down to end nology and IT services firms, Rob works withusers. End users key off middle management, which is often the most PTC consultants, partners, and customersresistant to change, so they need to hear from senior levels why this is so to advance understanding of key issues andimportant and how it will help the organization. challenges in product development, manu-Perhaps most important is addressing resistance immediately and facturing, and after-market service.candidly. Leaders need to be strong but fair. No one wants to have these Contact Rob at rleavitt@ptc.comconversations but if you avoid them it’s only going to get worse. Resistanceis normal. You need to acknowledge that change may not be comfortable Follow Rob on Twitter at @PTC_Consultingbut that we still need to move forward. It’s up to the leaders to say “I knowyou’re not happy but we still need you to change and this is why.” © 2012, Parametric Technology Corporation (PTC). All rights reserved. Information concerning the benefits and results obtained by customers using PTC solutions is based upon the particular user’s experience and testimonial, is furnished for informational use only, and should not be construed as a guarantee or commitment by PTC. Due to the varying degree of complexity of our customers’ products and/or their design processes, typical or generally expected results are not available. PTC, the PTC logo and all PTC product names and logos are trademarks or registered trademarks of PTC and/or its subsidiaries in the United States and in other countries. All other product or company names are property of their respective owners. J0457–PLM–Advocacy–Insights–EN–0612PTC.com PTC | 2