by Roy Saunderson | January 08, 2015

Getting your CEO or senior leader to buy into your recognition program proposal -- and getting them to sign on the dotted line for budget approval -- can be difficult. The key to receiving their buy-in is to get their personal commitment first. Check out these ten ideas for getting senior leader buy in, which we invited leading business CEOs to contribute to.

1. Know your CEO or leader inside out. Create profile of your leader to know how they think and feel. Find out the answers you need to know about them beforehand and what their pain points are and objections might be.

2. Identify if they're "above-the-line" or bottom-line leaders.
 Tailor your recognition and rewards proposal according to your leader's focus. Are they money and financially oriented, or are they more emotional and more people-oriented?

3. Connect immediately to the business strategy. Align recognition with the business strategy and focus on how you will help achieve priority goals. Point out how recognition will move the scales on key performance measures.

4. Clarify the problem with specific detail.
 Provide firsthand examples of people not feeling appreciated. Draw upon engagement scores and other evidence showing how unrecognized people don't perform well.

5. Make time to show the solution
. Be prepared to show how your rewards and recognition program is the right solution. Prove how the new recognition program will help them achieve their business and people objectives.

6. Demonstrate the thought behind the scenes.
 Get ready to explain the rationale behind the plan. Why implement recognition programs now? How will this fit in with everything else we are doing? What problems will this help us solve?

7. Identify the program's potential impact.
 Your leaders are going to want to know the ROI of your program ideas. How will this impact your people? When will you be able to show business improvement and how will you know?

8. Show the collaborative effort involved.
 Your leaders will want to know the collaborative effort that went in to the recognition and rewards proposal. Ensure all business unit leaders were involved and employee input was solicited too.

9. Build in an accountability plan.
 Schedule regular leader reviews to keep them informed on progress. Create a process for measuring success and how you plan to hold people accountable for effective recognition giving and reporting results.

10. Know your leaders timing.
 Take extra care to find out the right time to present your proposal to your leader. Know what is going on for them personally along with the business cycle and calendar of business events.

Incentive columnist Roy Saunderson is author of Giving the Real Recognition Way and is the Chief Learning Officer of Rideau's Recognition Management Institute, a consulting a training company which helps leaders and managers get recognition right. He can be reached at [email protected] Also, check out the library of Real Recognition Radio shows.