Making Digital Sexy Part 2

(This is a continuation of my previous blog post if you want to read the first part, Making Digital Sexy Part 1)

Well, OK, you say, but how else can you get buy-in? One way to think about it is to realize that you have to take a longer run at leadership than just a single pitch. You need to manage “up”. Think about it as a longer “sales” cycle. Here are a few examples and warnings:

1) Use Lunch-and-Learns
Use lunch meetings to showcase some innovative tools and campaigns, just to show what’s going on in the space, but at the same time, build a base of knowledge so that everyone is on the same page. Busy executive directors need information like this presented to them in a way that they can understand.

2) The Demo Dilemma
Imagine you show a demo that gets your leadership really excited. This is awesome. The only challenge comes when you aren’t able to truly deliver, because the demo you saw was just that: a demo, and not representative of what’sÊ actually possible. Sometimes I have been deceived, where a company gets me really excited with a demo, but later admits it’s not really done or complete. This can be a rude shock, so be careful with the “demo dilemma.”

3) Using Volunteers
Sometimes, volunteers can come to your organization with great ideas in technology. Sometimes, they are not so great. The trick is to understand how to evaluate these. Volunteers need guidance and their work has to fit in with your organizational goals and mission. Sometimes new technology projects don’t fit that bill. Plus, be wary of getting too deep into a new project run by volunteers without the real knowledge or understanding of it. From making sure the organization has the passwords, or access, to being able to resource it properly, it’s a lot to expect. The worst is when you present an idea and leadership says, “I’m sure we can get a volunteer to do this!” This is the danger of “free” as of course the impacts of volunteers aren’t free.

4) Balance ownership of ideas
Ensure that you have other people as champions for your idea and act as sounding board. Balance the ideas (Both the good and bad of social justice work is that there is a lot of new ideas). Pick your battles in terms of thinking of what are the worst things (because some things are not worth risking).

5) Pros and cons of skunkworks
Some companies use “skunkworks,” a small group of people within the organization working in an unconventional way. This can lower the challenges of creating something new in the regular departments. A caution is that executive directors are worried already that this is what is happening, so it’s important to realize that the word, “skunkworks” can seem dangerous to them.

6) Divide responsibilities
The problem is that in organizations the team that is responsible for the website often produces social media posts instead of making it a cross-departmental channel. Make sure the new tools you are creating or implementing for the admin and communications team are easy to train and intuitive to use. And don’t bother the execs with the technical details.

  • Author: Phillip Djwa

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