Knockin On Doors, Campaign Rallies, Endorsements & Buffet's Patsy
Winning tactics employed to deliver a successful political campaign in a lot of ways mirror the strategies you should utilize to drive a business analytics initiative. Successful political campaigns take their candidate and his or her value proposition and are able to cut through everything else competing for their voters' attention and still make it clear everything there is to know about this individual and why the voter should cast their vote for them. Candidates are competing for voters' attention and interest with so much more than just what their opponent and their opposition parties are trying to communicate. It's so many other distractions that are making it ever so difficult to reach these people. The ubiquitous always-on web-text-talk smart phones are the chief culprit but there's so much more with year-round professional and local sporting events being marketed, school bake sales, philanthropic fundraisers, holiday events, and of course the all-important celebrity fashion news just to name a few. it's round-the-clock news, gossip, inuendo and anything else you can throw in there across the 1,000+ cable channels available to everyone these days. There's always a must-see story on some cable channel if you want one. That's the landscape. Can't change it but you can adjust to it.
Campaigns know how to get around all these distractions by employing an effective two-pronged communication strategy that time and again results in a winning formula: big-crowd campaign rally speeches married with the personal door-to-door 'shake and howdies'. Ignore one of these and you're leaving yourself open to either being defined by your opponent, the media or the candidate's just lost in the cacophony of other things screaming for your voters' attention.
This is the integrated world of retail and porch-swing politics.
You may not get every vote through this long-ball and small-ball approach but with the resulting multiplier effect of this strategy through word-of-mouth and the 'familiarity factor' you'll certainly ensure you're heard and known to your audience. It's a balanced ground and aerial assault to use an American football analogy.
My point here is that political campaign tactics are no different than tactics you should use when either selling a business analytics initiative to your executive team or presenting the case to an internal user community regarding rolling out business analytics tools to this group. In the end, to be successful you've got to give the 'big speeches' and 'knock on doors.'
In the corporate world the "big speeches" isn't so literal but would translate into promoting the importance and business value of this analytics initiative on messaging vehicles like your company intranet site or speaking on department team calls or maybe even getting a little time allocated for you to present at your company-wide employee meeting. Another "big speech" or retail politics-style strategy would be to create an online discussion forum as part of a project landing page where questions can be asked online and information can be downloaded. 24/7 access to the project details and the project team are critical. These are all important "big speech" tactics towards extending an olive branch to your "constituents" showing you're available to answer any-and-all questions.
Another winning approach for driving a successful business analytics "campaign" is through an endorsement from a respected leader in the organization, i.e. an executive sponsor. This gives the project higher visibility. It doesn't hurt either that when a top-level executive endorses something the people affected by the initiative eventually fall in line because, well, it's likely they eventually roll up to that executive sponsor in the corporate hierarchy. Yes, the stick part of the carrot-and-stick analogy works.
The last of the three strategies I mentioned, employing "porch-swing" politics - in the corporate world means connecting with your colleagues who will be affected by this initiative. It's not just the actual people who will have to learn the new software or adjust to the new process that matter. It goes without saying that the actual users require a lot of care and attention because without their buy in the project will fail. But, something that's largely missed by a lot of implementation teams is the importance of meeting with the IT department who will have to manage these new systems in some way after the project is over. They'll be more important that even the users post-project to ensure this deployment grows legs and extends further beyond its initial scope. Arrange brown-bag lunch-and-learns for the user base to ask questions and learn more about your roll-out plans. Explain whether or not there's a big process change coupled with the software upgrade and what it means to them.
All of this direct contact with your business analytics initiative's constituents will prevent the actual value proposition of the project from being distorted or plain unknown.
Grass roots management of your project puts you in the driver's seat with greater control over the 'war of messaging' that can impact whether or not your constituents believe in your project or want it canned.
Warren Buffet once said, "if you're playing poker for 10 minutes and you don't know who the patsy at the table is it's probably you." Point being know the landscape around you. Campaigns and business initiatives don't fail necessarily because the candidate in question is un-electable. (Well, that might be the case for some candidates but I think you understand my point.) Campaigns and business initiatives usually fail because the candidates and their campaign teams and the business leaders and their project teams fail to address the basic bloc
Be the candidate and campaign manager in your organization and drive positive change for your company through the use of business analytics solutions.
Check out our ACE community for more resources on managing business analytics initiatives. The ACE community has an excellent book available for a free download on the ACE community entitled, "5 Keys to Business Analytics Program Success." Click the image to the right to download it now!
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