I spent many years pulling together ad hoc teams and writing proposals, strategic plans, patient education and content marketing pieces. These teams were usually a combination of people from throughout the organization, representatives of different departments and disciplines being asked to collaborate to accomplish a task that would affect the company and its customers. Sounds simple, right? Get together, get it done, move on. If you’ve done it, you know it’s rarely as straightforward as that.
It becomes complicated when the team members have varying levels of authority within the organization. It’s nice to think you can put all that aside and work as equals on a project. The reality may not go so smoothly.
While team members are devoting time and attention to this special marketing project, they still have their regular duties and responsibilities. What they think of as their “real jobs” will most often take precedence over any short term projects or ad hoc marketing project teams.
What are you, as team leader, supposed to do with this situation if you haven’t been given the authority to force people to cooperate and treat your project as a priority? You have the responsibility to make it happen but not the power.
Well, you may not have the positional authority or power but you can earn the relational or personal authority. And personal can be the far more effective type of power!
Personal power/authority depends on your team:
- trusting your competence – Do they believe you can accomplish this? Is that your reputation?
- recognizing your expertise – They need to respect that marketing is your specialty and you know your stuff.
- witnessing your compassion – Show that you understand they have competing priorities and that you empathize and are willing to work around their other commitments.
- sharing a commonality of purpose – Check often that you are all on the same page, striving toward the same goals and outcomes. Not just on this project but in the company overall.
One more thing – You want to ensure that your team not only pulls together and develops remarkable, inspirational, persuasive brand stories, but that the team members also are true to the brand story. The story must be authentic and the team members must carry out that truth every day. You need them to spread that genuineness throughout the organization and beyond to your customers or clients. You want your team to hold itself and everyone else in the organization accountable for the values your story illustrates. That’s a tall order! But you can do it if you have the personal power.
Marketing guru Seth Godin says, “Marketers with authenticity thrive.” The bottom line is – personal power, like good marketing, is based on authenticity.