3-2 Short Paper: Developing Channels of Communication and Collaboration
From: Alexander DiStefano, Communications Director
Subject: Attaining Buy-In for New Product Launch
As Im sure youre all aware, International Gadgets Research and Development department has recently created a new, major product that is expected to revolutionize the industry. Accordingly, we have been tasked to assist Research and Development with this new product leading up to its launch.
As our department is a new addition to the company, we will have to move fast, as we must attain actionable buy-in from multiple levels of the company to ensure the necessary support for the project leading up to its launch. Buy-in is critical to making any large organizational change happen. Unless you win support for your ideas, from people at all levels of your organization, big ideas never seem to take hold or have the impact you want (Hedges, 2015).
There are several steps we will have to take to help ensure the success of this effort. We must lay out the vision, follow up, nip resistance in the bud, and be prepared to change the change if this is to succeed (Broder, 2013). We must Show employees where you are today and where you intend to be tomorrow , Stay connected to ensure that everyone is clear about the mission that they are working toward ., and Be aggressive in addressing instances where you see resistance (Broder, 2013). Below is a detailed summary of the audiences the department will be focusing on as part of this project and what I believe to be effective channels of communication for those audiences, along with recommendations for collaboration on the project overall.
The largest audience we will have to convince is the overall employee body of the company. This audience includes lay, low and high-tech members (Gerson & Gerson, 2016) and will need a large volume of general information about the product, but they will also require specifications, pricing, and a launch plan to help generate the needed buy-in for the project. I believe the best communication channel for this group will be an intranet website. One of the easiest ways to reach the employee body as a whole will be with the creation of an intranet website on the companys network. The site will provide generalized information about the product and its launch plan. Further, it will only be available while they are using a company device that is connected to the company network (EG: Desktop computer, tablet, smartphone). Further, they will be informed about the launch of the site via a companywide email, which will contain the information needed to access and navigate it.
Arguably, the most important audience we will have to convince is upper management. Without their support, the project will not receive the funding and resources it requires to properly succeed and enter production. The majority of our upper management is not technically inclined, but some of them have some technical knowledge. Thus, it is important we clearly and concisely communicate how this product will affect the future of the company and what is required for it to be successful. Therefore, there are two primary communication channels that will be utilized. First and foremost will be comprehensive reports detailing the products use and overall relevance to the industry. These reports should contain enough information to allow all levels of upper management to make informed decisions, and will be available digitally on the company intranet site. Second, oral presentations based on the comprehensive reports will be given to provide a channel of interaction to upper management and to create a forum in which questions and concerns can be addressed.
Sales and Marketing must be informed as to what our product is and how it functions so that they can effectively market it to clients. As such, they will require both technical and non-technical information. This is a requirement as they will need to communicate with both high and low tech audiences. Foremost, a public site will be created for the Sales and Marketing Departments as well as clients. It will contain all information needed by the two departments when communicating with customers. This will allow for rapid updates as information becomes available or otherwise changes. Further, it can share some information with the intranet site where applicable. As an additional channel of communication, the department will create videos to provide information about the product, demonstrating features where possible. These videos will be hosted on the website to provide further contextual information should users need it. As such, these videos will also have to suitable for both low and high tech audiences.
The Technical Support department will require continuous and up-to-date information about the product and its intended use. If modifications are made during the projects development, Tech Support must be immediately notified. Tech Support will be given its own specialized intranet website that details information about the product and its intended use. Further, once feedback is received from the Tech Support team regarding the product, several videos will be made with their input. These videos will help provide information that the team believes is necessary for both customers and support personnel. Topics should include maintenance and repair and troubleshooting.
It is imperative that the comprehensive reports be given to upper management as soon as possible so that they can understand the overall scope of the project leading up to the launch. As such, this means we will be working very closely with the other departments to collect the needed information, as well as effective task allocation within our team as we divide the work. We will be holding daily meetings to discuss suggestions and the overall progress of the communications campaign. However, these meetings must be no more than twenty minutes in length so all updates will have to be brief. Allowances will be made for detailing any concerns and possible solutions. Finally, we will be holding a weekly meeting every Friday at the end of the work week to coordinate and prepare work for the following week.
Gerson, S. J. & Gerson, S. M. (2016). Technical Communication Process and Product 9th
Broder, L. (2013). Best Practices for Effective Internal Communications. Entrepreneur.
Retrieved from K. (2015). How To Get Real Buy-In For Your Idea. Forbes.