Win Over the Experts

One of my recent consulting assignments  isto standardize some of the documentation throughout the client’s organization.  This means working with people in the US, Europe and Australia.  While many of the people I’ve been dealing with are excited about the project there are a few who are a bit resistant to the change.  These folks created much of what is in existence today and are truly the experts in their fields.  Unfortunately the organization’s needs have outgrown the capabilities of the current format; now there is a global reach needed that can’t be supported.

To be successful I have to get these experts on my side.  Their senior manager has told them it will happen and he wants it done this new way, but that is getting compliance not commitment.  They are working with me because they have to, but they are not very engaged.  It’s up to me to change that!

Here’s how I’m going about getting them on board with the new program:

  1. Use their information.  I’m using what they created in the past to build the new versions.  This shows that their work is respected and is the building block of the future.
  2. Never be negative.  It is so important to avoid criticizing what’s been done in the past.  Focus on what is right about it and how it can help move everyone into the future.
  3. Get their feedback.  To give them a chance to comment I’m meeting with them about once a week.  This gives them time to review what’s been updated and then they have me as a captive audience for feedback.
  4. Sell, sell, and sell some more.  Part of what I’m doing is to show them what’s been done in other areas already and let them see the benefits of the new materials.  Also, I keep reminding them of why this is being done.
  5. Appeal to their loyalty.  These folks love the products they work on and the company they work for, so I am showing them how the updates will be strengthening the branding of the company.  The professional and uniform appearance of the documentation will be seen world-wide, sometimes by customer personnel, and will increase the image of the products.  They like knowing this helps improve people’s opinion of the company and products.
  6. Play to their knowledge.  The biggest factor to my success is the fact that we are using their information to educate everyone world-wide on the applicable products.  Now they will be impacting people around the world without leaving home, their knowledge will have an even greater reach.

So far it’s going pretty well.  Still working on building the relationships and looking forward to what will come in the future.  I remind myself each day to be positive about their contributions so that I can stay focused on what can be instead of the roadblocks that are really just speed bumps in the road.

What things have you done to get an expert on board with a new idea that wasn’t theirs?

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Filed under Change Management, Leadership, Team Building

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