Building internal support begins with: “I want to do this thing, will you help me?”
Building an internal alliance begins with: “What are you trying to achieve? How can I help?”
Too many people try to build internal support when they should build internal alliances.
Support is difficult to gain and can quickly evaporate as priorities shift.
If you’re waiting for someone to do you a favour, take a number and get in line. You could be waiting for a while.
It’s a thousand times easier to build an alliance instead. Figure out the goals and concerns of those around you and see how you can incorporate them to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes.
The crucial difference is this means you need to change and adapt your vision of what the community should be to accommodate what others want. You can’t fake this or pay lip service. You earn their trust by showing you’ve truly listened and responded to what has been said.
A friend recently spent hours going through the sales team proposal documents for new business and attended one of their sales meetings. He noticed he had some powerful stories that would help illustrate their points. So he asked if they wanted any quotes from top customers or stories to support their key points?
Now the quotes he’s collected from community members feature prominently in sales decks and the stories are used by the entire sales team. In return, the sales team encourage new clients to use his community.
This is an alliance not built around asking someone for support, but by finding ways the community can help existing stakeholders. (p.s. Also, imagine how community members feel knowing their stories are featured so prominently in company material?)
There are countless opportunities all around you today to better understand the people around you and build more alliances. Alliances that begin with what they want, not what you want.
It’s a lot easier to get support if you begin with something they already support.