What are the critical factors to consider when getting organizational buy-in for a network?”
The first questions to answer are “Why do we want a network? What do we want out of it? Is there an example of a network that functions well?) Conversely, what are the pitfalls (nightmares)? Does anyone in the organization have any previous experience they can share? Have you compared your needs with other businesses that are similar?”
It is first important to clearly articulate what the organization wishes to accomplish and ensure that all internal stakeholders are on board. It is also helpful to conduct interviews with other companies who have gone through this experience to be sure you have the right team in place. This will require individuals with a can-do attitude. Consider eliminating members that are constantly finding a reason for why it won’t work, because they will drag the team down and slow the process. Once over these hurdles, have each team member explain why they should be part of the team. Articulating each contribution will assist in making sure all team members understand the final goal. Having people assign themselves specific duties and responsibilities ensures that they have “bought into the process” and will be accountable for the deliverables.
Dream big, but be prepared to pay for it. And whatever you do, test, test, test, test before going live. The damage at the back end can be very costly, so set realistic milestones, and don’t move beyond these until they have each been met. This way, a small glitch in the beginning won’t have a huge impact at the end. You don’t want to be in a position where someone says “why didn’t you tell me about this?” Make mistakes, learn, correct and move on.