Productive Partnering with Program Peers—Outcomes Not Outputs

One of the many joys of working with you face-to-face via keynotes and workshops is learning what works for you. I share that out here whenever possible, as peer-to-peer guidance is the best there is. The simple but overlooked technique I’ll share with you today came from one of the highly-energized members of the LSA Communicators Network, who I guided through an intensive one-day marketing planning workshop last month.
Working productively with your program colleagues is a challenge you often discuss with me. You tell me how you do your best with limited resources and try to prioritize on what will advance organizational goals, but that your program colleagues frequently just don’t get it. That they often just want what they want (that new poster, by the end of the week) or don’t let you know about changes in focus or new programs till shortly before launch.

Believe me, if you’re frustrated, they’re frustrated too. You’re all working for the same good cause, and here’s a way to partner more productively, thanks to Joe Sanders, Director, Marketing & Communication at Lutheran Community Services Northwest:

When asked to generate those posters to boost program participation or put together an a.s.a.p. email to share new features of an existing program with past participants—Joe re-directs the conversation to focus on outcomes, not outputs.

Shifting the conversational focus to what Joe’s colleague is trying to achieve (increase program participation by 10% within six months), enables him to work backwards from that outcome to recommend the marketing strategies and tactics most likely to generate the desired change. Rather than pushing back on requests, he joins his colleague in working through how to put marketing tools to work to meet her goals as a true partner, not an adversary.

Joe reports that this approach helps build program colleagues’ understanding of how marketing can help their programs meet goals, and of the specific tools or campaigns that will make the greatest impact in each instance. In addition, this process strengthens the marketing-program relationship and ensures that marketing is strongly aligned with program and agency goals. Win-Win.

Thanks, Joe, for sharing what works.

What are your techniques for productive partnering with your program colleagues? Please share them here.

P.S. Get guidance from 219 of your nonprofit marketing peers with the free Nonprofit Marketing Wisdom Guide 2012.

Nancy Schwartz on May 29, 2012 in Staff and Consultants | 1 comment

  • Veronica

    This isn’t just a good approach for working with program staff, it’s applicable to all kinds of interactions marketing and communications people have with others in their agency. Great advice!

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