At any organization, there are always going to be more problems than there is time to solve them. But certain problems really need addressing–like, right now–and you know it. Unfortunately, these are the very ones that often go untended. They are the bigger picture problems that we don’t know exactly how to define, let alone solve.
As a doer in your organization, how can you force these important conversations to happen now? How can you beat the: “Yes, this is definitely something our team is thinking about, but won’t be able to work on until Q2 of next year”?
Here are 6 tactics our team uses that will help you accelerate some of those stagnant conversations and seize the now:
Tactic 1: If a C-level person schedules a call/meeting far in the future (1, 2, 3 months from now), contact their assistant every week and ask if there were any cancellations in the schedule to push the meeting forward. Works like magic!
Tactic 2: When a senior person says “no” due to a scheduling availability, contact one of their direct reports and schedule a meeting with them instead. If you make a compelling case, your new advocate will be able to get their boss to pay attention sooner.
Tactic 3: When someone has a valid reason to postpone the conversation to a later date, ask for intros to a wider team to explore a bigger opportunity. Be sure to include a justification for your insistence on timeline. Here’s an example of an email that has worked for our team:
“Hi (insert name),
Thank you! Completely understand – let’s connect later in the year as your team resource is more settled.
In the meantime, would you be able to connect me with [xx team] for a wider group discussion? Autumn is typically the time for the next year planning for L&D teams, and it would be wonderful if we could have a conversation with your colleagues to explore whether we can support any future initiatives for [xx company].
Thanks for your help in advance.
Tactic 4: We are especially conscious to use this tactic when writing C-Level people, but it is best practice to use it with everyone on every level. Find a very, very specific pain point (for example, can be done though insiders, if you happen to have one) and write a short note aligning your proposition against that pain point, supporting with how you have helped solved the pain point or similar ones in the past.
Tactic 5: Use news / events. This works best for contacts at other companies. Research the latest news that’s happening in their industry or company and connect the conversation you want to have with them with this piece of news.
Tactic 6: Draw a very detailed timeline to let your stakeholder know every step of the process, and how the different steps fit together to deliver the results you want before X date. Take a screenshot of the slide, and insert in an email. This tactic is especially effective when you have buy-in, but your stakeholder is postponing late in the game.