Friday, November 13, 2009

Do you know your CXO?

And better still, do they know you?

Yesterday when I discussed how to tackle "the talk" when management wants to discuss moving away from Domino or anything for that matter and their issues I wanted to follow up on one section, namely the CXO and what to do about them.

How do you get the CXO's attention? How do you keep them up to date? How do you make yourself heard, without upsetting politics and the common day actions of everyone?

Easier said than done of course, but maybe these ideas will help you.

Start with do you even know who they are and where they are located? This may sound simple or obvious, but when you are the low woman/man on the IT totem pole you might not know, or care. You should care if you read yesterday's post as your job is at stake potentially.

Great, now you know who the top people are and you can focus on who to help. Why help? Because they need it, but don't know it. This is your job, to help them learn from you, in various ways which are up to you.

Every time you upgrade a server or client template or really anything, you should be sending out an email to them to let them know what is new. Most companies don't do this, so step out there and be different.

If there are new mobile features let them know, if there is better access to an application, let them know, but don't just say we updated to R8.5.1 and your iPhone is now supported. Pitch them like it was a new idea for the company.

You may find that tailoring those emails for the CFO vs. the CEO are time consuming but will mean a lot to them.

Some of you are saying, yeah right my boss won't let me send such an email. Ok, let your boss know it's good PR for IT to do this and you are sue the execs will be happy to hear IT does anything aside from play video games(yes, I hear that still from some people, I think they mean twitter now)send it to everyone in the company, but send the execs a slightly more tailored one if you can.

Still not allowed? Post it on the company intranet somehow. No Intranet? Email the execs assistants and let THEM know how their job will be easier because of X,Y,Z and so will their boss and ask that they let them know as well.

Maybe none of this works for you, the mahogany halls scare you or the CEO's assistant can fire you on sight, well cheer up you have other ways to help.

There is an interoffice mail in every company. You can use it as well, print it off and send it to them.

If you are on the support or development side it might help you if you had a few minutes of a discussion with some execs about how they use your application or phone or whatever product in question. Your immediate boss might laugh this off, but remind them that a true user experience is based on the people using the system and if you want buy in from the CXO's, they have to see it and feel it and believe in it...and use it.

Guerrilla Evangelist tactics? Slightly, but if your job was at stake you would do whatever you could to save it.

Reality is much harder, it could take weeks to get to talk to the executive. Email and IM have made this an easier way to target them, if they use it. Not that I advocate everyone out there do this, but Bob Picciano, the Lotus General Manager, is usually on Lotus Sametime and if you wanted a minute he might give it to you.

Always be respectful of the executives time and ask if they have a few minutes for you to ask some questions or just relate something they might want to know about or need to get their job done. You might be surprised how often your little nuggets of coolness and/or productivity is just what they were looking for or wanted to know.

Again, it's not easy, in a Birds of a Feather Session at Lotusphere the last 2 years Tom and Gregg and Jess discussed how to be evangelists inside the organization. It was obvious from attendance that it's something people want to do and be a part of, I imagine if a similar session is held at Lotusphere 2010 in January it will be even larger attendance.

So get out there and start publishing, emails, blogs, videos, webinars, wikis, podcasts, basically however and whatever way you need to get the word out to everyone.