If you recognize the challenge that your middle management stakeholders love your ideas, but your proposal is stuck somewhere between them and their bosses, then read on how to improve your chances to influence senior management or boardroom members.
Decisions are made before you enter the boardroom.
Although you might think a superb presentation to Boardroom Members may get you the deal, the reality is different. According to Jeb Blount, the decision to give you the business is generally made before you enter the boardroom. Their objective of meeting with you or any other finalist is to give them confidence that they made the right decision.
Influencing is more than one ‘Yes.’
Hence, to ensure they enter the meeting with you as their final decision in mind, you need to work hard to get many stakeholders behind you. So when you hear your contact saying ‘ I like it’, be aware there is still more work to do. Influencing is more than getting one ‘Yes’.
The Spiderweb Persuasion
My recommendation is to approach the influencing of multiple stakeholders like a spider spins its web. I call this the Spiderweb Persuasion:
The Anchor Points
The key stakeholders are your web anchor points. They are connected to the Board members in the web’s centre. The influencing starts when you communicate to them a clear business case statement. Your business case for change is based on situational knowledge, where you have found something the customer should capitalize on and turn into profitable growth – if they make the necessary changes. You have calculated quantifiable outcomes and the strategic advantage that will get their absolute attention.
Most influencing is done when you are not there.
Before moving on, decide which key stakeholder you want to make your Change Champion. Enable this person with insightful information so they can influence others. In most cases, your insightful information comes from third-party (via Google as an example) research like industry trends or the market your customer is operating in. They have to make changes to make your business idea work. What will happen now is super impactful: When you leave the building, your Change Champion will walk around their office like a spider crawls around its web. Most influencing is done when you are not there.
Focus on Common Goals
Your work is not done as yet; Your Change Champion will come across challenges and objections. For example, the IT department needs to make some changes, Operations needs to plan differently, and Marketing may need to change their target audience. They may not like your idea immediately because they have to change. No one likes change unless…..it is for the benefit of a common goal. By making your suggested changes, the business will roar, income will grow, and profits will be made that can be reinvested in the business. Help your Change Champion overcome these challenges by focusing on common goals and the desired feasible outcome. Help him or her to gain consensus.
Board Members have made up their mind before the final presentation, so you need to spend more time influencing your change champion and other stakeholders. Influence them like a spider spins its web.