Your co-workers deserve the same creative standards as your customers

It’s Monday morning. You caught a movie on the big screen this weekend and the home team won. You have a steaming cup of coffee on your desk and you’re feeling primed and ready to take on the week’s long list of tasks. As you comb through the 82 new emails in your inbox, the first twinge of work stress already wiggling to life, one subject line flashes by:

– New sales tools to launch in Q4 –

You click and scan a block of text about how you are required to go to the intranet and complete an e-learning module on the new tools. Sounds like a drag. Knowing the intranet, it’ll take an hour just to find the thing. You place the task at number 42 on your priority list as the bubbliness of the weekend fades into memory.

Now imagine that instead of a block of text, you get a link. The link takes you to an animated film showing you a colorful future where you’ll be able to do the things you and your colleagues have wanted to do for ages. The film even has some humor in it and leaves you with a smile on your face. The twinge of work stress twitters away and the good vibe from the weekend is reawakened. Maybe this will actually be… fun?!

Sure, it can take a little more effort to get creative. You understand why it’s necessary for reaching customers. There’s a whirlwind of media to break through, you need to connect emotionally, you need to bring what’s in it for them to life, all of that. But your own people are paid to do what you tell them. Why spend the money?

Because your people also have a whirlwind of things competing for attention and they also need to be connected with emotionally if you want real engagement. And because you get so much more in return when people are inspired to not just complete tasks, but truly care about elevating the company to greater heights.

You don’t inspire with standard issue emails and a paycheck. You inspire by putting a little extra effort into demonstrating your vision of a better future. To break through the clutter and stress, you need to show your people the respect and creative standards you generally reserve for customers. Otherwise, your initiative is likely to end up in the spam folder.

Jason Ross

Jason Ross

Title: Symbal, Concept Designer
Experience: 8 years as a Creative
Personal mission: To inject humanity into your communication
Weapon of choice: Nouns and verbs and adjectives
Change anthem: The Hand That Feeds, Nine Inch Nails
Jason Ross

How to craft your change project’s elevator pitch

You’re probably wondering what an elevator pitch has to do with your change project. Elevator pitches are for salesmen, everyone knows that. But for your project to get anywhere, a salesman is exactly what you’ll need to become.

You need your colleagues to devote scarce time and resources to your project and they aren’t going to do that without proper motivation. Listing the goals and benefits and logic of the thing isn’t going to cut it. Since when are people logical?

So how do you go about crafting that show-stopping message? Here are five steps to guide you.

Understand your goal

You know what the goal of your project is, but what exactly do you want to happen at the end of this conversation with this individual? It could be purely emotional or more concrete, like getting them to come to a workshop or to spread the message to others.

Accept that they don’t care about your project

It’s not that your colleagues are apathetic, everyone simply has their own workload to worry about. So it’s up to you to figure out how to make them care. How will your project make their life better? If they don’t see what’s in it for them, they won’t get involved.

Set the stakes

You don’t want to rain down doom and gloom, but your audience needs to see consequences they can relate to. If you manage to ask the right question about what their work life will be like if the change fails, you can actually get them to show themselves what’s at stake.

Show them a credible plan

Your job title doesn’t give you credibility. Being able to clearly show you know what needs to be done and who needs to help does. Be concise yet specific. Make sure to avoid buzzwords and jargon as they cause people to mentally switch off.

Make it easy to take action

You’ve got them on the hook, but they can easily forget about your project five minutes later. Make it simple for them to take the next step. For example, it could be getting a promise to gather information you need or booking a meeting with their boss.

The real bar for success with an elevator pitch is when it feels like a personal conversation. Making it feel spontaneous takes a lot of practice. When you’ve got your message down, tell it to yourself in the mirror. If it feels like it’s wandering, trim the fat. Then trim it some more.

Jason Ross

Jason Ross

Title: Symbal, Concept Designer
Experience: 8 years as a Creative
Personal mission: To inject humanity into your communication
Weapon of choice: Nouns and verbs and adjectives
Change anthem: The Hand That Feeds, Nine Inch Nails
Jason Ross