When you start something really new in a corporation a couple of things happen:

  1. You find out who the Open Thinkers are
  2. You find out who the Haters are

In case you’re wondering, it’s a lot easier to find the folks in group two. In fact in most cases they’ll be happy to find you – ironically these are typically well-respected folks in the organization. The really good ones are often referred to as great “critical thinkers.” Either way, it all adds up to a person who wants to tell you why what you want to do can’t be or shouldn’t be done.

I’ve been through this a few times and here’s what I’ve learned about how to handle this phenomenon:

  1. Focus on your promoters. Do a couple of people “get” the idea you’re trying to sell? Focus on making them ridiculously successful. If you can stay a bit under the radar while doing so, so much the better. While you’re working through your V1, keep a running powerpoint deck (or whatever the preferred method of communication at your business) to build a case study that tells the story of what your “big idea” is and how it’s changing the way you do business. Have an end-goal in mind of where you’d like to take your idea in a few years and some idea of what resources it will take to get there.
  2. Ignore your detractors: Take careful note of the criticisms of your new idea. Do they have a point? Learn what you can from the nay-sayers and ignore the rest. Figure out who the toxic people in your organization and stay away from them – just focus on making your case study kick ass. If your idea is well thought-through, they’ll come around eventually as late adopters. (Guy Kawasaki refers to these folks as “the bozos.”
  3. Identify your champions: Make sure you have at least 2 vice-president level supporters. People at this level leave on a semi-regular basis, so in my experience it’s a good idea to work on getting support from a second person in case your chosen champion leaves. From time to time, make sure you keep your champions in the loop on your progress – don’t allow them to be surprised by someone else’s update on your “baby.”

Have you heard of Gaping Void? Hugh MacLeod, the cartoonist and author of the popular blog, creates posts focused around a single cell cartoon, usually focused on marketing and innovation. Often the subject matter is dead-on true to my experience, and judging by his popularity, others agree.

His latest post and cartoon is too good not to link to: “Good Ideas Have Lonely Childhoods.”

Good Ideas Have Lonely Childhoods

Are you in a sheep stage or a wolf stage?

In my coding days, I got frustrated by being stuck in the “sheep” phase (I believe the technical term for that is “code monkey”) Having been a Product Manager and now a Marketer, I’ve been through a few “wolf” rounds now as well.

Next up, my thoughts on what to do about the “lonely childhood” stage in “How to Further New Ideas in Corporations.”

Social Media Trumps Porn

According to OMMA, social media traffic trumps porn. Pretty astonishing headline.

Walking the Line

Here’s a few of the things corporate social warriors know:

Measurement: Every tactic must have goals and metrics associated with it. If it doesn’t, forget about it. Most importantly, don’t bring tactics without goals and measures to your boss – bad things will happen. Trust me on this one.
Office politics: Keep a high enough profile to convince busy executives your business should be part of customer conversations. Keep a low enough profile to execute and “do right” by those same customers. It’s a balancing act and an art.
Cultivating the Employee Groundswell: The most important long-term goal internally is to establish employee grass roots understanding and acceptance of the business value of working with customers to get better product and marketing solutions, drive organic word of mouth, and frankly, treat your customers like people. When the rest of the organization starts to “get it,” my life (and yours) gets a lot easier. I have a specific approach I use, I’ll bet others have theirs. More to follow on this in future posts.

Introducing Social Graces

There are plenty of social media analysts and theorists out there. I have no intention to be one of them. As a social media marketer and a long-time corporate citizen, I have a practical experience I hope will bring a new perspective to the conversation. More importantly, I think there are more people like me out there: social mavens in corporations longing to connect with others who can relate to the challenges, doubts, hopes, and triumphs of convincing the organization to connect with their customers.

A second focus for this blog: being a professional woman in her 30’s and all the joys and trials that go along with it. Being a grown-up isn’t always what I expected – it’s a richer, more complicated journey than it seemed like it would be when I was in my teens and twenties.

I look forward to the conversation!