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How to Get Executive Buy-In on Energy Management

May 19, 2017 / by Max Dworkin

Whether your company is brand new to strategic energy management or you want to build up your program even further, you cannot go it alone. Without support -- financial and moral -- from high-level executives, your plan won’t get very far.

Luckily, it is possible to get executive buy-in on your planned energy management program, if you know how to present your idea.

Keep reading for some tips that will get you the champion you need to go forward with strategic energy management.

What Does Buy-In Mean?

While it can be easy to simplify ‘buy-in’ to ‘dollars committed’ there is more than that to executive buy-in. Yes, strategic energy management can involve investment -- in new technology, an energy manager, energy monitoring, audits, and other energy management services -- but just as important is finding an executive champion for the project. When you have an executive who is on your side, it is that much easier to get support from throughout the company on your strategic energy management projects, which means you will be able to make changes faster and see results sooner.

Know what an energy manager does? See what the energy manager job description looks like. 

How to Get Executive Buy-In

To earn executive buy-in, you need to be able to present a cogent, comprehensive strategy to the executive you want to persuade. There are a few things you should be sure to do to make your presentation go as smoothly as possible.

Know Your Audience

You’ll be most effective in earning executive buy-in if you can identify one executive to target. This way, you will be able to zero in on factors and values that are most important to that particular executive and tailor your presentation to that individual. The better tailored your requests are, the easier it will be to keep the executive’s attention and ultimately earn her support.

Have a Strong Track Record

It’s a mistake to expect to convince an executive of any direction if you have yet to prove yourself as a valuable employee with good judgment and a firm grasp of the company’s strategic goals. Your track record will certainly come into play when you are seeking executive buy-in so be sure to look after your reputation.

Leverage Emotional Intelligence

Even if you are not a sales expert, when you seek executive buy-in on energy management services, you will want to activate sales strategies. With high-level executives, knowing how to appeal to their individual needs, goals, and values will be key. A Harvard Business Review article tells the story of getting buy-in on a new solution from an executive who had chosen the old solution himself. It was important that the presenter showcases his idea without making that executive look bad or short-sighted and instead emphasized the future impact the change could have. For your part, be sure that you have at least an idea as to how the executive will feel when you bring her the idea of energy management and be prepared to answer any objections thoroughly.

Always Come Back to Strategic Goals

Wanting to manage energy is not enough. If you cannot explicitly show how strategic energy management decisions will help your organization to be more effective and efficient in achieving key strategic goals, you will find it impossible to get executive buy-in. At every point during your presentation, be sure to tie the investment that you’re requesting back to bigger goals. Do not, for example, simply outline the savings you could find, but emphasize what strategic initiatives you could spend those savings on to further the company’s goals.

Getting executive buy-in can seem like a daunting task, but with the right background information and a solid plan, it is possible to get the investment and support you need for the energy management services you want to see.

For advice on getting your CFO specifically to engage on energy management, download our free eBook below.

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Topics: energy management, energy consumers

Max Dworkin

Written by Max Dworkin


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