Create And Tell a Compelling Story

There are a few tactical steps you can take to begin to secure the executive support you need. You first need to be able to tell a compelling story. The fact that you have already established your top 3 objectives will help you frame out that discussion. These objectives are the foundation of your strategy so you should be able to clearly communicate your strategy, goals and ultimately the value it will drive to the company. Don’t confuse “Value” with revenue. Executives love to see bottom line ROI but they will also see the qualitative value of building an army of brand advocates.

This is where being able to tell a compelling story will help you get the attention of not just executives but your management, stakeholders from other departments and those on your team. There are a few things that will help you during this process. First you need to have just enough confidence and passion that it isn’t perceived as arrogance. It’s a fine balance but your confidence and passion for what you believe will contribute to the interest in your story.

In addition to this taking our objectives and building a roadmap strategy will help paint the vision of where you want to go. Executives have limited time and may not see the light at the end of the tunnel so you should present this right up front right after your state your objectives and within the first five to seven minutes of your presentation.

Think of it as painting a picture. I have always loved Monet paintings but if you stand too close all you see are millions of little dots. Help your executives stand back so they can see the full picture and keep your team up front to worry about painting the little dots. As a leader you will need to be able to do both. You need to convey to the executives that you are the person that can stand back and see the whole picture while being able to direct your team to ensure the tactical and strategy come together..

 

Executive Leadership Is Critical For Success

About a year ago I started outlining a book on community collaboration and digital marketing strategies. I started covering all the basics, SEO, content publishing, advocacy, social media and engagement etiquette. And I realized toward the end that most of my success implementing these strategies for companies was due to executive leadership. Any project starts with leadership to help get the support you need from executive sponsors to improve your teams chances at success. This may be the most important aspect of any rolling out any marketing engagement program for three reasons: Obtaining funding, removing obstacles, and team motivation.

First of all if you don’t have funding you don’t have a project. Securing commitment for funding reassures the team that there is support for there efforts. It provides the resources, new hires, products needed to get the ball rolling. Funding is also one of the bigger obstacles that will need to be addressed immediately but not the same as other obstacles you will face when rolling out a disruptive technology.

The other types of obstacles I am referring to are political. You would be surprised how many internally and externally want a voice but don’t want to help. You will find between finance, HR, global security, legal, IT… etc… there will be no shortage of departments that will want to slow things down by asking questions, throwing up barriers and all around objection to change. No one likes change but it is necessary if you want to evolve and survive in this new modern world of customer engagement. Getting a good representation of executives will help eliminate all these issues as you will have a trump card that you can call their bluff when threats of escalation. Recently when our team implemented a social intranet we had the CMO, SVP of HR and CTO as executive sponsors. This won’t prevent threats or obstacles from being presented but will give you the confidence that it won’t go any further and the project will continue moving forward with the strategy you have set forward.

And this helps team motivation. All any employee wants is to be able to complete their task and have success. Keeping a team motivated is really just this simple. If you, as the strategic leader, can secure the executive support to help remove obstacles and lay a foundation for the teams success that is all the motivation they will need. It is just the belief that success is possible and the team can do the work that they have been tasked with.

These are just three reasons why executive support and leadership is important but realize that this doesn’t explain how to get an executives attention, tactics that can be used to eliminate escalations and keep the team focused on the end result. I think I just came up with three new chapters. Stay tuned and I’ll try to put some of these down in future posts.