Evaluating Your Executive Leadership Team Readiness During an Advancement CRM Implementation


When identifying project sponsors for your Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) implementation, most organizations choose an executive leader with an outgoing personality who can garner excitement about the project. 


But it takes more than a vibrant personality to lead a successful advancement CRM implementation. And having successful leadership for your CRM implementation may be one of the most critical steps toward a successful adoption. 


We discuss how to evaluate your executive leadership team readiness during an advancement CRM implementation.

Situational Leadership Style 

Like each person is unique, so are their leadership styles. And depending on your organizational goals and team members, leadership styles may conflict. Consider the four quadrants of situational leadership and where your executive leaders may be placed. 

  • Delegating: low directive and low supportive behavior 
  • Supporting: low directive and high supportive behavior 
  • Coaching: high directive and high supportive behavior 
  • Directing: high directive and low supportive behavior 

When viewing the situational leadership style chart, one axis is cohesive, and the other axis is coachable. The best-case scenario is leaders in the upper quadrant because they are highly cohesive and coachable. 


As you land in other quadrants, you may begin to experience challenges. For example, someone who is highly coachable but has low cohesion may hinder training traction. If someone has high coachability but is unwilling to listen, they may get on the right track, but only if they keep their differences at bay. 


Someone with low coachability but high cohesion may be able to make decisions for the greater good. However, they may not be rated successful because this style will only work for some people. And someone who has low coachability and low cohesion will make things extremely challenging.


As you assess their situational leadership style and whether it will harmonize with your organization, consider the following questions. 

  • Can this leader distinguish between a complex, adaptive challenge vs. a technical problem requiring more specific expertise?
  • Is this person able to handle multiple interpretations of complex situations requiring leadership?
  • Does this person regularly ask curious questions that make others pause and think differently?
  • Can they manage discomfort and tolerate uncertainty?
  • Will this person act experimentally to make progress toward big aspirations?
  • Does this person seek coaching and support?

Leadership Characteristics 

Evaluating situational leadership styles is only part of the equation. You’ll also need to consider leadership characteristics and how they may benefit or impede your CRM project. 


The best leaders focus on transformational leadership and rallying employees to spark teamwork. They position a united commitment regarding effort, time, and energy. Strong leaders lead by example and exude coachability to increase momentum.


Another important leadership characteristics during your CRM is ability to actively listen. Active listening is particularly transformational, especially during a CRM where users may be hesitant to change—asking them to participate vs. telling them can go a long way. 


And when it comes to decisions, the best leaders identify decision-making processes instead of making decisions by committee or autocratically. Finally, effective leaders establish a method for accountability because they understand a lack of responsibility leads to an absence of ownership.