If you’ve ever tried to launch a big idea internally at your organization, then you’re all too familiar with the various shades of “no” new ideas come up against: “we don’t have the time;” “we don’t have the budget;” “we don’t do things that way;” “we don’t have enough resources.”
What you may not realize, however, is that those “no’s” have nothing to do with your idea and everything to do with the way you’re trying to “sell” that idea internally.
David Beebe, a marketing operations consultant to some of the largest brands in the world and the architect of the ultra-successful Marriott Content Studio initiative, says that if all you’re talking about is your big idea, you’ll never find the support you’re looking for. What you should do instead, he explains in our conversation for this episode of Org Uncharted, is focus on breaking down the silos between departments by talking about other people and how this idea will benefit them first.
“We’re all in the people business, regardless of the role you play, the job you’re in, the industry you’re in. That’s a really important thing to remember.”
At the core of it, David concedes, this idea of switching your thinking from your idea to its benefits for others is not all that innovative. In marketing speak, it’s often packaged in the dictum “think of the consumer first.”
What he’s found, however, in his experience with organizations of all varieties and across all industries is that no one, not even the marketing department, thinks of applying this strategy internally to their colleagues when internally marketing ideas. Yet, it’s these people you’re trying to get on board with your idea who should be your primary focus.
“It’s about showing other groups how what we’re trying to do globally could benefit them.”
When people can see a clear value for themselves and the organization in your idea, they’ll be much more interested to hear you out and much more eager to help you find ways to implement it.
So, if you want to get company-wide buy-in to your next idea, David advises following the “consumer first” strategy with these three steps:
- Think about how your idea benefits them. How does your idea benefit the HR department? What about the customer support department? And the finance group? Think about the different benefits that your idea will bring to each department and start from there. This strategy is all about creating a value exchange, and you have to create the value first.
- Communicate those benefits to each of them. Instead of preparing one grand presentation for everyone in the company, make the time to connect with key people in each department and tailor your presentation to your specific audience every time. What does HR need to hear to get on board? Talk about that first and show them that you’re fully on their side; don’t try to bring them around to your side right away.
- Bring them along for the ride. Once people see how your idea can benefit them, they’ll be much more invested in seeing it succeed and much more willing to contribute their time or resources. Make sure you bring those people along with you for the ride. This isn’t about getting “backing” for your idea, but about cultivating true partners for the journey. How can you and this group of colleagues win together?
Tune into our full episode to hear more about how David has used this strategy successfully throughout his career at places like Showtime and Disney and ABC for launching the wildly successful Marriott Content Studio. Throughout our conversation, David shares with us specific tips and tactics about how he approached other departments, how he got commitment from others for his projects, and how he avoided having “too many cooks” on one project.