Nine Best Practices To Mobilize Colleagues To Accomplish Big Goals

All companies require cross-functional collaboration to succeed. Even if you’re the chief, you need to win the hearts and minds of colleagues to accomplish big things.

When it comes to accomplishing big goals that require engaging disparate teams (or entire companies), a few best practices can make a world of difference. The following have worked for me:

Develop your agenda. Develop a clear agenda that expresses what you want to change. Agendas usually are complex and have many moving pieces. However, it’s important to boil them all down to one large theme, and distill three simple goals.

Tie your agenda to a purposeful narrative. Embed your agenda into a story, particularly one with a big challenge (or enemy) to overcome. People need metaphors to rally their spirits and energies. And you’d be better be passionate about the agenda yourself.

Contextualize your agenda with data. Data are key for benchmarking and measuring performance, but they’re also critical for contextualizing why your agenda is important, and why people must support your cause. 

Engage influential stakeholders early. Include influential team members early and often in the development and rollout of your agenda. Including their perspectives in the development will improve your plan and ensure they fully back it, and they’ll be set up to drive the plan throughout your company.

Deploy a real communications plan.  Similar to marketing to external audiences, you will convert people only with a persuasive value proposition and effective, repeated connections. To make impact, you must communicate in an array and high frequency of formats, including written, oral, live, face-to-face, with anecdotes, with sight, sound and motion -- theatrics matter. Most important is word of mouth, so seed it and make sure it happens (and with your influential stakeholders mentioned above). Things become real and enticing when you see others getting involved.

Report progress. To justify the high frequency of key communications and sustain momentum, you must engage with progress reports and relevant anecdotes about the journey.

Accept criticism. Be open and responsive to criticism along the way. It’s engaging for others, makes efforts more credible, and it improves them, too.

Thank people. Thank people because that’s the respectful thing to do. People appreciate it, and it will reinforce their support now and in the future.

Communicate an ending. People don’t like open-ended stories and unfinished business. That’s annoying and shows you don’t care. When it’s time, communicate closure.



Which best practices help you mobilize teams and accomplish big things?

2 comments about "Nine Best Practices To Mobilize Colleagues To Accomplish Big Goals".
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  1. Pete Austin from Fresh Relevance, January 22, 2014 at 4:44 a.m.

    Suggest "your agenda" should become "our agenda".

  2. Pete Austin from Fresh Relevance, January 22, 2014 at 4:48 a.m.

    Also "Report progress" should be "Report ROI". Much easier to sustain support for an agenda that's not a money pit.

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