(Updated in 2020)
10-Point Plan: Enlisting Heroes and Champions
Those Who Are Waiting to Lead
Finding the heroes and champions who already love what you do. It seems every time I give a presentation about growing business and social business a few CEOs and business owners find me to talk. They want to know to get started raising a barn — a vibrant internal community of fans focused on growing their business — rather than building a coliseum — a huge endeavor that employees work on for them. They want to use social tools to connect all of the people — employees, vendors, partners, and customers — who might have ideas and insights that will help their business thrive.
The first question is how to find and attract those heroes and champions.
How Does a Business Identify Heroes and Champions?
Last week, I wrote about assessing and benchmarking the community with two informal tools that allow people to offer their opinions on the state of things. The second tool, a sociogram, is often used in education settings to determine social networks and influencer hierarchies. It’s a gem of a tool for finding out who already has influence within a group.
To find the heroes and champions of the change toward a stronger community look to the sociogram to find the people who were chosen most often as
- people others would ask to teach them something new. (training stars)
- people others would invite to attend or a gathering of your friends. (social stars)
- people others would ask to offer you a recommendation on the quality of their work. (leadership stars)
- people others would ask to to do all three. (influence stars)
- Identify and enlist a core team of champions to lead the quest.
It easy to see how these four groups, particularly the last would be the people that your team and your community look to for answers, advice, and how to evaluate and navigate change.
So it follows naturally that the people who scored highest in these groups might be the first team of heroes and champions that we bring together to talk about the brand values they believe in and those that are the new mission.
Look for the Leaders You Already Know
Attracting and enlisting these heroes can be natural and easy if we really are set on raising on barn, not building a coliseum. We lay out the vision clearly, explaining the goal and the rewards of getting to it.
We’re going to build a business that will make work easier, faster, and more meaningful for us and the people who work with us. AND We’ll do it by aligning our goals and building something that none of us could ever build alone.
Are you in? What skills do each of you bring? What are the minimum processes and rules we need to keep honest, respectful communication? What problems do you see? How might we solve them before they begin? How can we best bring this message back to the rest of the team?
Yet people can respond to a clear vision for many reasons. Some are drawn to the work. Some come for personal reasons. Some come to build something they can’t build alone. Some may come because they seek approval and attention.
Look for those who show leadership qualities of their own.
- Competence and core values – champions who love your business understand what moves the business you’re in. They add insight into how to bring the vision to life. They have integrity, are trustworthy, and respect others. They are examples of intelligence and heart.
- Positive energy – heroes and champions bring out the best in others. They have the energy to invest in big ideas with a spirit of inclusion, gratitude, and generosity. Curiosity fuels their solutions, inviting ideas from all sources.
- Strength of character– leaders who can carry a vision have a strength of conviction, no matter the power of their role or position.
Before you try to create brand evangelists why not reach out the ones you already know? As you look for the people you would call heroes and champions, you’ll find they’re connected to others who are much like themselves. Invite just a few to a meeting and begin planning a barn together.
How do you recognize the brand evangelists you already know?
To follow the entire series: Liz Strauss – Inside-Out Thinking to Building a Solid Business, see the Successful Series Page.
–ME “Liz” Strauss