- Sun, September 25 2011
- Filed under: Nonprofit leadership
Building on yesterday’s post, I wanted to provide some great ideas on boss persuasion that came out of my session at the Communications Network conference —“Winning over your boss with marketing ju-jitsu.”
As a group, we built two archetype boss profiles and worked out how to handle them.
The monkey boss is named for her monkey mind. She is always super-busy, moaning about inbox volume, and flitting from meeting to meeting and task to task. The only thing that grips her attention is her pet project(s) - and shiny objects. If you try to get approval from a monkey boss, it’s tough going. First, good luck getting the time to put your case forward. Second, your idea will get sent in a million directions. And third, she may forget she approved your idea - and kill it later.
We imagined trying to convince a monkey boss to approve a website overhaul. The group had great ideas:
1. Show her cool websites that get her attention. Isn’t it nifty what that rival organization is doing?
2. Tell a story about how another organization redid their site and big things happened.
3. Get a few allies on board first to show there’s a movement for the change. Then have an alpha monkey colleague in the office talk about the wisdom of overhauling your site to the boss.
4. Describe the site in a way that monkey minds love - it will be “fun and dynamic and constantly updated!”
5. Talk about how the site will have a special section on the boss’s pet project.
6. Assure your boss lots of people will get input and be involved.
The genius knows everything. He runs a militaristic silo within the organization, and if it’s not his idea, it’s dead. ]When you try to pitch a genius boss, he shoots it down and corrects your thinking. He needs everything done his way and under his control. Getting him to agree to your new idea seems impossible.
We imagined trying to convince a genius boss to approve a new hire and budget for consultants. The group had more great ideas:
1. Ask for his advice on your idea - he gets to feel smart, and he may start feeling the idea is his own.
2. Tell him you need the added resources because you’re “losing control over his vision and need more help to get it accomplished the way you know he wants.” (I loved this suggestion - brilliant ju-jitsu!)
3. Switch up messengers and have respected colleagues underline the resource problem
4. Tell stories about the way the vision is faltering without the resources.
Thanks everyone at the Communications Network conference for your great help!