"Can you give me some easy to implement suggestions?"
"It might be something we can roll out, but I am not sure I know how to message it, any tips?"
The past few months I have been lucky to land some great lunch meetings with some key contacts. It gets ideas flowing, opportunities for further collaboration are revealed, and a great deal of good will gets fostered. I make a habit of annual check ins with key contacts, not always back loaded to the end of the year, in order to celebrate the work we acheived together that year and to listen for areas that can be improved. The innovation that so energizes an organization rarely appears wrapped on your door, rather it slinks in one chat at a time and suddenly appears fully formed only because so many minds have already contributed to the vision. I love being in the position I am to observe and facilitate this process. I often get to do this in organizations seeking to be more inclusive and conscious of ways individual and cultural differences can be leveraged and supported within a system. With newer contacts I am often confronted with a set of questions that boil down to one common request:
"Can you bullet point exactly what will work so I can copy that in my company? And combine that with dollar by dollar analysis of exactly what economic benefit will occur for the effort? I prefer to look at projects only limited to the next 2 quarters please. Thanks!"
The rationale and intent of the request is certainly understandable: when you need to sell an idea up the chain you want to empower yourself with the kind of information you know holds currency. But when I hear this question it tells me the inclusion effort isn't ready to be launched. Rather, there is more planning work needed to ready the system for the tasks that will actually lead to greater effectiveness.
My business card says "Translating Results". It's a tagline I used when my consulting firm first launched back in 2007. At the time I was positioning my services to be a within-reach option for Kahneman/Gladwell/Arielly type feedback. If you don't know what I am referring to you, you now have some idea the challenges I encountered those first years! I keep the reference because it accurately reflects my method of consultation. I don't know everything, but I know how to locate, vet, and apply many things that will have impact in your organization. I see my role not as building something new for you, but as helping you locate resources and talents that exist within your systems and that can be strengthened by some tested best practices.
The approach doesn't always translate well into a three step plan, but the chance to connect an idea with direction is well worth the conversation. Looking forward to our next chance to connect.