How to wrangle your resources within–A lesson in sales and diplomacy

So you have a big organization…you are trying to rally everyone behind a cause, campaign….and everyone has their own budgets, priorities and agendas…so how do you win hearts and minds and rally to a collaboration success without endless cycles of “redo, approve, redo, approve”?

Here are 3 tips to consider when herding cats:

1. Listen–we were created with 2 ears and 1 mouth.  You should use them accordingly.  Identify the key stakeholders in your organization and listen to them.  Ask them their challenges and goals? Ask them their plans to overcome or achieve? Then custom your response and pitch to help them solve their problems or reach their goals…sounds simple right?  Sometimes it is….most times, it takes patience and persistence.

2. Identify the big influencers–so in any group dynamics there are always key people who have the power to influence others.  And don’t fool yourself they don’t always have the biggest title in the group.  Most often they are the ones that have the most extensive network within an organization.  People who have worked cross functional or who volunteer for projects outside of your team or organization.  Seek them out.  Reach out to them one-on-one and ask for their help.  You will be surprised how much time you save by going after the influencers first….you know that whole “network effect thing.”


3. Co-create--have your stakeholders help create the solution or campaign.  But don’t give them a blank piece of paper! You should give them choices, gather their opinion, blend their ideas and then…this is the MOST important part.  Review the plan with them and highlight their contributions.  It is amazing how people will rally when you give them a ‘lil credit.  Keep in mind, you must have a timeline, deadline and stay strong on additional changes after your reviews.  Otherwise you will come out with a “mushy middle” solution that does nothing, or worse you will be tied up in the “consensus hamster wheel of death.”


It takes patience, focus, and a positive attitude to get people to support a common goal.  The payoff–priceless!


About the author

Melissa Kennedy

I am an innovative, practical problem-solver with an MBA. Pioneered one of the first social media strategic plans for a Fortune 100 company, including monthly online TV program viewed by 120,000 customers. Created a scalable channel marketing service model and established a new customer communication channel through partner web syndication. Developed marketing plan for start-up technology firm. Launched first comprehensive marketing campaign for major science and technology university's $1 Billion fund-raising effort. Award-winning performance for 15 years across functions, industries and organizations.

My passion for results goes beyond professional pursuits. I am a global facilitator and co-organizer of Startup Weekends and serve as an advocate and volunteer for many local charities including Food Bank of Central/Eastern NC, North Carolina International Affairs Council and Connected Women of North Carolina. Plus, I have served as the President for the Triangle Interactive Marketing Association,

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