Harvard Business Review (HBR) January/February 2015
- Organizations don’t prosper unless managers in the middle ranks promote the need for change. Yet for many reasons they may not voice their ideas and concerns.
- Most managers struggle to sell their ideas to executives at the top. They find it difficult to raise issues early and be invited to have conversations at a “strategic” level.
- Managers must time & tailor their pitch to key stakeholders, frame & align the issues/problems to organizational priorities, suggest solutions, build consensus, play to politics, and manage emotions (theirs & others).
- Managers must answer two questions: How important is this to my organization? And how important is it to me?
- There is more to a pitch than a big presentation and a yea-or-nay decision. Creating and enabling multiple campaigns is essential to ensure success.
- Don’t assume your immediate boss can or will want to carry the message. Volunteer to be “shoulder to shoulder” in the pitch or at least be available as a resource to help prepare them.
- Successfully bringing forward issues/problems worth solving requires passion and discipline. Done correctly means organizational and personal success!
Our Point of View:
- Selling initiatives (reason for change) as an “internal champion” (employee) or as an “external champion” (vendor) is exactly the same.
- Internal champions lack the decision-making standards (mind-set, skill-set, tool-set) to “get and keep” the attention of senior executives throughout their assessment process.
- External champions (vendors) are only as good as their internal champion’s “ability to sell”.
- Decision-making standards eliminate variation and the waste of time, people, resources, and capital.
- Forward thinking/acting vendors recognize their “internal champions” need assistance and are sharing decision-making standards to help them “get and keep” the attention of their senior executives.
- Internal champions react to vendors offering decision-making standards in two ways: they openly accept them OR they reject (dismiss) them. Both reactions produce a win-win outcome!
- Outcome #1 – Use of collaborative decision-making standards accelerates AND improves the JOINT odds of internal/external success throughout the assessment process.
- Outcome #2 – Rejecting the use of collaborative decision-making standards sends a clear “leading indicator” to help qualify the reality & readiness of investing time and resources.