Around Christmas I’m always reminded of the gift of frustration. I’m at the end of what has become a much more involved home renovation than it should have been. (Has there ever been an easy home renovation?). As the project winds down, there is plenty of frustration with the contractors and subcontractors on this job. But that’s a different story.
Speaking of different stories, I’ve recently gotten to work with a senior director at a large, global company. She is trying to push through a business case for a new content group to centralize and manage the flow of external content out to various channels: web, blog, social, email, etc. As the year is ending, she has just had a breakthrough.
She has spent the last few months driving this change through the organization. She’s been met with cultural roadblock after roadblock. The brand managers wanted to handle content on their own. The technology group didn’t want to look at “lighter” content management. The VP of marketing wasn’t sure that content marketing is even the right approach. Product marketing teams thought their content was capital A awesome when it was actually capital A average. Her increasing frustration was beginning to show in her presentations. She was tense, piling fact upon fact, and unintentionally sending out the message, “Don’t you get it it!!”
Then she had a breakthrough – and got commitments from almost all the stakeholders. She shared with me what she did. This has now become a core part of processing for me.
She realized that what she was really frustrated with wasn’t the people “not getting it” but her own lack of clarity about sharing her vision. In other words, she could see the vision and the benefit for the stakeholder to whom she was presenting. But they couldn’t see it.
What did she do? She created a frustration mind map. She listed all the frustrations she had about content and the business status quo. Then she wrote down the positive futures that she saw.
She wrote down the possibilities that would exist when the frustrations were gone.
This mind map helped her formulate a new case, one that delivered a vision that addressed people’s frustrations. Her pitch became personal. It enticed people.
Our frustrations are a gift because they give us insight into other people’s frustrations. They help us deliver solutions that matter.
Want to win your case for content? Remind your colleagues of not just how it will help the business succeed but also how it will help them succeed. The gifts they give back to you—their enthusiasm for and commitment to change—will keep on giving.