Scale Biz RelI’m working with a really smart association executive right now on fueling his growth through really innovative thinking. He read my Return on Impact book earlier this year, heard me speak this past summer, and sought me out in the fall to actually help him apply some of the ideas in the book (that alone makes him sharper than the average bear! :-)).

We’ve worked through his vision of evolving his highly technical and very mature organization and are now focused on five key pillars to help him, his board, his staff, and his members get there. It has been the toughest kind of work, because it’s mental. We’ve covered the most likely questions he’s going to be asked by his various stakeholders (i.e. very conservative board, very seasoned staff, marquis members and sponsors, etc.) and we’ve derived at answers to many of those questions, objections, or otherwise roadblocks.

Here is the final component of my coaching of his efforts that I thought could be of broader appeal to this community. He’s not scalable! Actually none of us are. Regardless of his immense educational foundation and professional pedigree, the only way his vision will actually come to reality is if he can gain buy-in from key members of his executive council and senior staff. In essence the ideas to evolve the organization must become theirs. He must appeal to their logical self interest to be believed today and believe-in tomorrow as they go down this journey of executing some of the key tasks.

So, what’s the answer? How do you gain buy-in on your ideas, particularly if they’re considerably different than what the organization has always done? You tell them the what and not the how!

1. You divide and conquer the various stakeholders into small SWAT teams to take each of the pillars and come up with their own “how to achieve, what to focus on, what to avoid, what resources to allocate, etc.” details.

2. You ask each team leader to pick their own teams, collaborate on the best possible solution given the current constraints, and present their recommendations to the broader audience.

3. You ask the rest of the team to shoot holes at each presentation and constructively recommend course corrections, areas for improvement, possible risks to consider, and creative ideas around roadblocks.

4. You finalize a session by asking each team to develop a preliminary 30-60-90 day execution plan. Now it’s their ideas, their approaches, their suggestions – their ownership of the ideal outcome.

5. You create “governance councils” made up of various stakeholders to go execute those plans – together.

This is just one example of how this executive can scale his broad portfolio of relationships to help him reach his vision. He simply can not, and I’d submit none of us likewise will be able to, reach our goals alone. You must find a way to scale your relationships. How will you do that in 2014 and beyond?

Make it a great week and make sure you finish 2013 strong.

I’m co-hosting a private, by-invite only Author Summit here in Atlanta on Jan. 12-14. Think of it as “TED for authors!” If you know of an established author, please feel free to suggest they reach out to learn more. I’m also launching the 2014 Growth Accelerant Webinar series to begin in February. Look for more info after the New Year.

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