If senior leadership is not onboard, expect a bumpy ride. We've learned this lesson the hard way, especially after being hired by mid-level executives.
While usually excited about the potential of relational practices, some clients will fail to follow through if their superiors are judging their performance against transactional benchmarks.
But there are strategies that help build top-level consensus.
To start, offer to audit and assess the relationship between the organization and its audiences.
Understanding how the organization is engaging with people and how people are responding is essential for building any argument for change. This should be followed up with a bright contrasting picture of how a relational organization benefits, and the steps to get there.
What I like about relational design is that it isn't a monolithic discipline, instead it's a suite of practices—including ethnography, cultural and organizational design, communications design, service design, etc.