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Getting Team Buy-In on Rolling Forecasts

April 3, 2018
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Resisting change is human nature. This is true of personal change as well as organizational change. One of the reasons people resist change is because of a fear of the unknown – they aren’t sure how a change in their workflow will work, how it will affect them, their teams or their job.When it comes to organizational change, moving from annual budgets to rolling forecasts is a pretty big deal. Annual budgets are a long-time staple of business culture, despite its many flaws. So, even if you spell out all of the benefits of rolling forecasts to your team, there may be some that resist the move. But without the full support of your team, your change over to forecasting could fail.How do you get your team to buy-in on the switch to rolling forecasts? There are several strategies you can use to ensure a successful migration from annual budgets to rolling forecasts.

Start Small

You may be anxious to begin reaping the benefits of forecasting, but unless you’re already part of a small organization, you should take a page from your IT department’s playbook and first roll out rolling forecasts to a small group.Why? To begin with, you’ll be able to provide dedicated support to a smaller group, answering their questions and keeping anxiety low. If you try and get everyone started forecasting immediately, you’ll be less equipped to handle issues and questions that arise.Plus, with a successful launch with a subset of users, you’ll have a group of evangelists that can help others understand the value of rolling forecasts. This group can help other leaders with questions that they have, and serve as a proof of concept that forecasting can be successful.

Open Lines Across Business Units

Forecasting is a strategic management tool, not a line-by-line evaluation tool. Because of this, it’s important that leaders across the organization work with one another to develop their forecasts. Sales must communicate with manufacturing, supply chain must understand manufacturing’s needs, and IT should understand what support and features different lines-of-business have prioritized.These open lines of communication during forecasting leads to greater collaboration across the enterprise. It reduces unknowns and allows for innovation and creative thinking that previous business silos prevented. This kind of openness is a big win for the organization and for individual leaders who recognize the value of collaboration.

Use a Dedicated Application

One of the most frustrating parts of annual reviews is trying to combine data into a single spreadsheet. This can add hours of manual consolidation to the budgeting process and can lead to mistakes and overwriting data.Imagine how much worse that would be if you have multiple leaders trying to update a single spreadsheet every quarter. That could be what you’re facing if you try and use a spreadsheet system for rolling forecasts. The frustration built up as leaders try and merge data and deal with lost entries can put a damper on your move to forecasting.Instead, switch to a budgeting and forecasting software tool that is dedicated and can handle the frequency and access required for effective forecasting. It needs to handle multiple users at once while preserving data integrity. Also, ideally, you’ll want an application that makes it easy to analyze past performance so that new forecasts can be more accurate. A dedicated tool will make forecasting easy and provide insights that leaders couldn’t get from annual budgeting or spreadsheets. In turn, your leaders will buy-in on the benefits of rolling forecasts.With a tool that is easy to use, flexible, and provides value across the company, it’s easy to get your team to buy-in on the move to rolling forecasts.

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