On the most recent episode of the Nuxeo Content Journey’s podcast, we welcomed James Word, Director of Integrated Services at one of Nuxeo’s partner companies, IO Integration. I recently saw James present an excellent webinar on Changing Your Mind Set In Order To Change Minds, and thought it would be an interesting idea to discuss on Content Journeys.

James provided his thoughts, as well as some excellent insights, and practical tips on how to get buy-in on your content vision from senior executives.

Here’s a little taste of that conversation:

Alan:
In the webinar, we mentioned in the introduction you talked about winning the hearts, minds, and resources of executives. Why do you think that functional teams fail to do that on a regular basis?

James:
It’s true. Sometimes I think executives are the most neglected of audiences. We have to know our audience. We all fall into the trap of our own perspective, especially when we get into the details, but that’s a horrible way to communicate, esp. if you’re trying to convey a vision or get agreement on something from an executive.

For example, if I’m a CMO and need funding next year for a major initiative, I can’t just walk into my CEOs office and say, hey I need a million dollars. I need to sell the vision of what that means to my CEO, to the business. How will my initiative drive revenue, or shareholder value, or increase cash-flow. What are the actual costs, business impacts, and potential return on investment?

That’s what that webinar was all about: Translating My Goals into Their Goals, being able to reframe all of my functional team’s analyses into what it means to our executives. I can’t just come in and say, hey I need a code-free integration platform. That means nothing to most executives. I need to break it down in business terms and back it up with proof. You know, accurate, useful content. ;)

Alan:
So what is it that we should be talking about when we want to capture the attention of senior executives?

James:
Executives are keenly focused on essentially driving revenue, controlling costs, and improving cash flow. But to sell your vision to an executive and reframe all of your analyses, your content, and your understanding of how your initiative is going to be executed, or drive business, you need to translate all of that into an executive’s mindset. That’s where the five pillars come in.

The first few are about creating the buying vision. You need to convey a vision to the executive of who they are going to buy your solution. This is a combination of three things:

  1. External factors - how does my initiative affect all of the external factors happening to the business.
  2. Business initiatives - how does my project align with the actual business initiatives already underway.
  3. The individual ambitions of the executive - this one is sort of the ‘secret sauce,’ executives have their own initiatives and ambitions. Figure out how your project can help them achieve that.

The final two pillars are all the proof to back that up; what are the actual changes going to be, and then finally the financial metrics.

I want to again thank James for his time, and the engaging and entertaining discussion. You can join us for the full conversation on the Content Journey podcast, now available on your favorite podcast service, and at nuxeo.com/podcasts.