10 Recommendations for Strategic Engagement

  1. Engage senior management.
    Create regular interactions or briefings. Better yet, join the senior management team. Create a position that requires representation at the highest levels of your organization. If that’s not possible, put together an Executive Council. Integrate your program with the overarching objectives of the organization, and be ready to flex as they change.
  2. Bring in professionals who understand the change process.
    Find one consultant you trust to act as a personal coach. You need a neutral perspective from an expert who can listen to your point-of-view and concerns, and provide you with one-on-one strategic reflection. This is the single greatest amplifier of productivity, minimizing your down time and optimizing your impact.
  3. Create an engagement strategy.
    Map out a clear business justification of activities including a timeline. The purpose is to clearly convey to leadership and other interested parties what you will be doing and why.  Have it ratified by leadership, incorporating their input (and resources).
  4. Avoid surprising people.
    Give advance notice when you are going to provide a keynote or lead a meeting. Do your work in advance to ensure maximum uptake. If concerns arise, handle them in advance.
  5. Provide impeccable follow-up.
    Check back in with people following an interaction. Ask them if there is anything you can do to help their efforts. Most will not need direct assistance, but the offer will build your relationship. Those that do request help will be leveraging your presence and are worth the investment.
  6. Align yourself with Communication, Training, and Support.
    These are the folks who handle the soft stuff, which is the hard stuff. Treat these relationships with special care and work toward full integration.
  7. Create streamlined approval processes within your team.
    Make it possible for your group to turn on a dime and respond in real time. This is one of the most effective ways to win support and stay ahead of the game.
  8. Work with multiple media in synchronized releases.
    Splashes are move things forward in dramatic surges across a system. Learn how to orchestrate many simultaneous events for maximum impact and progress.
  9. Conduct regular surveys to assess your effectiveness.
    Never lose contact with your most valuable players. Surveys whenever possible should be face-to-face. I meet regularly with valuable players, and sometimes send teams out with clipboards to have 5-minute conversations with many people in a short period of time. Electronic surveys are a distant second to live interaction, but still useful in many conditions.
  10. Do extensive team building with your group and your stakeholders.
    In an environment of constant change, it is a strategic imperative to have close alliances with as many critical players as possible. Deep bonds help all circumstances. They smooth out challenges and rough rides, accelerate smooth transitions, and further speed rapid progress.


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