Are we our own worst enemy

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One of the most common questions I get asked is how do you get senior management buy-in to social and digital?  The interesting thing is about this is that there is an assumption that I have senior management buy-in!!

I think that this is broken down into a few areas and they aren’t linked to social media tools.

The first is “managing your fear” – In order to get senior management buy-in you need to have contact with them, regular contact as well. I know that it can be scary to speak to senior management, sometimes you are a victim of your own fear – to simply go and ask for a meeting with senior managers about this topic…you’ll need to be clear about what you are saying and what outcomes and objectives you have, but it can be a challenge to simply ask for that meeting. You simply can not afford to sit in isolation and expect people to come to you. Get out there be persistent, be clear about your messages and be clear about what you feel is right for your own organisation. I have to admit that there have been a number of times that my own fear of getting a negative response or simply a “No” has stopped me pushing things forward…it does take some self-reflection, some encourage from others and simply a nudge from peers by reading tweets or blog posts that give you that bit of confidence…

The second thing is “trust” – One of the bigger challenges is building trust with colleagues and senior managers, but this is something you can build up (it isn’t easy and straight forward) by being sensible, evidence based and also constructively challenging to your organisation (when I say constructive, I don’t mean, “annoying” – there is s a fine balance here). However by citing other projects from elsewhere and using the learning and evidence gained from those projects you can start to effectively challenge thinking and build trust. You have to be in for the long haul though.

The third thing is “pilots are really useful” – I know not everyone can do pilots but they are really useful and can really help break down some barriers. Nothing else to say here….

For me the biggest barrier has to be ourselves…are we creating barriers that simply are there in our heads, or are simply perceived to be there because we make assumption as to what others might say.

All i can say is have some faith and keep going until someone tells you to stop. Someone once said to me that it is easier to beg for forgiveness than it is to ask for permission…maybe not a rule for all situations but it has certainly helped me in the last few years.

4 thoughts on “Are we our own worst enemy

  1. midinotes

    Great post Carl, always enjoy following your blog and tweets. Good to have met up recently at the London Public Sector SM event, hope to get another opportunity to do so!

  2. martinhowitt

    I suppose I’m gradually getting to grips with this as a competence. One of the things I notice is that timing can be critical. There seem to be times in every senior person’s life when they need someone objective they can trust and if you are available at that time you can make significant inroads.
    The other thing is about repeating the message from different places: I know that in the case of one senior person I know, hearing the same thing from 2 different people helped reinforce the idea that this wasn’t just blue-sky thinking, it was an actual trend.
    This is true for anything, of course, not just digital/social stuff but anything slightly off-piste.

    • Thanks Martin, I agree that there are other factors to consider and be aware of, timing and reinforcement are also important as you say.

      It is more complicated than the post above makes out, but my underlying reason was that sometimes when all those other things align, we can still be ruled by fear.

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