topdownIn the midst of the conference call, I realized we had a pretty clear nonstart to the project we were discussing. (I hope I am wrong).

Then the what-if conversation took a different turn, down a new road. The other parties on the call all trust each other’s judgement and that led to an alternative set of tactics. (Intellectual banter, yes, but a telephone call, rather than an extensive thread of emails, works well in these situations).

Back-story: We were discussing a local nonprofit chapter of a large organization. We are friends of the organization, and as we simultaneously reviewed the local poobahs’ minimalist LinkedIn profiles. I opined that pitching a LinkedIn program to “non-believers,” rarely leads to a success, unless we convince these decision-makers that they needed help (that’s bottom-up), and once embraced, that trickle-down energy to the rest of the membership would fill seats at the proposed educational session (then it’s top-down).  I see this a lot:

  • Just like the nonprofit Executive Director I am coaching has to be invested in continual LinkedIn branding for himself before the staff and thus the whole organization benefits. And then LinkedIn-savvy volunteers, potential board members, pro bono experts, trusted consultants, and donors line up. It’s got to come from the top.
  • Just like the large law firm I am co-teaching over the next months: first it was essential that the Executive Committee embraced this as a strategic marketing project for the good of the individual attorneys, staff, and the firm as a whole. Top-down.
  • Just like the insurance company I recently taught: the group manager saw the merits of LinkedIn but had to launch her own profile to get the full effect. Then the staff felt vindicated that this was a finally company-sanctioned time expenditure, and was able to greatly improve on their profiles, benefitting themselves, their department, and the  company as a whole. Top-down.

No longer directionally challenged.