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Advocacy: Championing Ideas and Influencing Others

Copyright Date: 2011
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 352
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  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    When a group of people gather together to generate ideas for solving a problem or achieving a goal, sometimes the best ideas are passed over. Worse, a problematic suggestion with far less likelihood of success may be selected instead. Why would a group dismiss an option that would be more effective? Leadership and communications expert John Daly has a straightforward answer: it wasn't sold to them as well. If the best idea is yours, how can you increase the chances that it gains the support of the group? InAdvocacy: Championing Ideas and Influencing Others, Daly explains in full detail how to transform ideas into practice.To be successful, leaders in every type of organization must find practical and action-oriented ways to market their ideas and achieve buy-in from the members of the group. Daly offers a comprehensive action guide that explains how to shape opinion, inspire action, and achieve results. Drawing on current research in the fields of persuasion, power relations, and behavior change, he discusses the complex factors involved in selling an idea-the context of the communication, the type of message being promoted, the nature and interests of the audience, the emotional tenor of the issues at stake, and much more. For the businessperson, politician, or any other member of a group who seeks the satisfaction of having his or her own idea take shape and become reality, this book is an essential guide.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-17507-3
    Subjects: Business, Management & Organizational Behavior, Psychology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. 1 The Politics of Ideas
    (pp. 1-21)

    If we had an Innovators’ Hall of Fame, it would include Tim Berners-Lee; William Campbell, Mohammed Aziz, and Roy Vagelos; Patsy Mink and Edith Green; David Warren; Clair Patterson; Joan Ganz Cooney; and Jim Delligatti. Their names may be unknown to you, but each is responsible for at least one extraordinary innovation that affects us every day. They have something else in common, too. Each faced strong resistance from others—bosses, colleagues, and other decision makers—who often blithely dismissed their brainstorm, publicly challenged its value, or, in some cases, tried to sabotage it. Each of these intrepid innovators came...

  4. 2 Communicate Your Idea with Impact
    (pp. 22-43)

    Imagine that tomorrow morning you meet with your organization’s senior executives to pitch an idea you have been working on for the past six months. Your twenty-minute session is part of what your company calls its annual project reviews, when top decision makers hear from employees about their projects and budget needs for the coming year. A week from now, the executives will hold a private session to discuss all the projects, and you know that only a few will be vividly remembered, and even fewer will receive generous support. Most projects will have been all but forgotten by the...

  5. 3 Frame Your Message
    (pp. 44-64)

    Winnie-the-Pooh visits Rabbit’s hole and gleefully feasts on his friend’s honey. Much plumper for the culinary experience, Pooh attempts to squeeze out of the hole. Half in and half out, Pooh is trapped.

    “The fact is,” says Rabbit, “you’re stuck.”

    “It all comes,” replies Pooh crossly, “of not having front doors big enough.”

    “It all comes,” responds Rabbit sternly, “of eating too much.”¹

    Each frames Pooh’s predicament differently. People, too, like Pooh and Rabbit, frame ideas in terms of how they understand those ideas. And how advocates frame issues affects how persuasive they are.

    Humans are a categorizing species. We...

  6. 4 Build Your Reputation, Create a Brand
    (pp. 65-88)

    Think of some famous brands: Coca-Cola, Nike, McDonald’s, Apple. Why do the companies spend so much effort building and protecting their brand names? Because instantly recognized brand names give them enormous advantages in the marketplace.

    RecognitionImagine walking into a store and scanning the shelves. What’s in the orange box of detergent over there? Tide. The red can of soda? Coca-Cola. Which shoe has the swoosh sign? Nike. In a crowded marketplace, customers can easily find well-known brands.

    PreferenceBrands create loyalty. When people don’t know what to choose, they pick familiar brand names. Give children carrots in a bag...

  7. 5 Form Alliances
    (pp. 89-118)

    At Data General, a mini-computer company, a successful team “not only had to invent their new computer but also had to struggle for the resources to build it. Resources meant, among other things, the active cooperation [of other units in the organization]. You had to persuade such groups that your idea had merit and would get out the door, or else you wouldn’t get much help—and then your machine almost certainly wouldn’t get out the door.”¹ What was true at Data General is true everywhere: enterprising advocates find allies. They seek support from anyone who might aid their advocacy...

  8. 6 Your Idea Is Only as Good as Its Story
    (pp. 119-138)

    In the late 1970s, Sony’s cofounder and chairman of its board, Akio Morita, faced a crucial advocacy challenge. Although he believed that his company should create and sell what today we know as the Sony Walkman, his engineers and marketers couldn’t imagine why people would want a portable audio cassette player with headphones. “Everybody gave me a hard time … nobody liked the idea,” he recalled.¹ Indeed, had Sony conducted customer-opinion surveys, most respondents probably wouldn’t have seen the value of a portable music player either. So Morita famously made his case by relating a brief story: Two shoe salesmen...

  9. 7 Who’s Making the Decision?
    (pp. 139-166)

    The more you know about your customers, the better your sales. That is axiomatic. It is also true that the more you know about your decision makers, the more effective your advocacy will be. Advocates must figure out as much as they can about the decision makers who support or dismiss an idea: Who will like the idea? Who won’t? Who’s going to sit on the fence? Who can kill the idea with a shake of the head? Who might make the idea look infantile or ill thought through? Who might whisper, “We tried this before, it cost a lot...

  10. 8 Network!
    (pp. 167-187)

    Organizations have many forms of capital. They have financial capital—money on hand. They have human capital—people who make products, sell to customers, manage the books, and handle all the other tasks that keep an organization alive. They have intellectual capital, political capital, and resource capital. Most important for advocacy issocial capital—the priceless interaction of people working together within the firm. Things get done and ideas get adopted when people connect with one another. “The oil of politics is personal relationships,” says former U.S. Senator Alan Simpson, and the same is true in organizations. Capable advocates champion...

  11. 9 Timing Is Everything
    (pp. 188-218)

    In ancientGreecethere were two words for time.Chroniswas chronological time.Kairoswas the right or opportune time. Advocates need to know about kairos. For every idea, there is, as Machiavelli tells us, an opportune time to make a move. Being too early or too late can make an idea worthless. Timing is everything.

    Decision makers listen when ideas address pressing concerns. As BT’s chief technology officer, Sinclair Stockman, said, advocates must “create an impatience in the business, an impatience to get on and improve things, to realize the vision.”¹

    Monique arrives home one night to discover that...

  12. 10 Create Persuasive Messages
    (pp. 219-240)

    People have always been interested in discovering ways to be persuasive. In classical Greece, Aristotle and Plato wrote about how to influence others by phrasing ideas with care. In ancient Rome, Cicero and Quintilian advised colleagues how to craft potent messages. In the Renaissance, Niccol·Machiavelli wrote a still-cited manual about influence. In modern times, Dale Carnegie’sHow to Win Friends and Influence Peopleis a perennial best seller. In the 1940s, social scientists began exploring empirically what made certain messages—speeches, brochures, advertisements—more influential than others. In this chapter we will draw on this research to outline how advocates...

  13. 11 Make the Idea Matter
    (pp. 241-263)

    Successful advocates package ideas in ways that motivate decision makers to adopt them. They make their ideas matter in three ways. First, they convince decision makers that what they are proposing benefits them. Second, they make their proposals easy to adopt. And third, by linking their proposals to decision makers’ beliefs and values they make their ideas valuable and important.

    In the eighteenth century, city dwellers around the world regularly fell sick and died because of streets that were little more than open sewers. John Bellers, an early public-health advocate, campaigned to clean London streets. He offered the king of...

  14. 12 Make a Memorable Case
    (pp. 264-286)

    Stroll along a crowded city street. What do you notice? Actually, not much when you consider how much could grab your attention. Eventually, though, something sparks your interest. Why? What makes that thing more conspicuous than anything else? When you are advocating, it is useful to imagine decision makers as pedestrians winding their way along avenues of ideas. Successful advocates get decision makers to notice their proposals among the clutter of ideas. How they strike sparks of interest is what this chapter is about. You can make your own ideas memorable if you use the same techniques: (1) make ideas...

  15. 13 Demonstrate Confidence
    (pp. 287-302)

    A colleague of mine often shows his classes a video containing 12 ten-second segments drawn from CNBC, the business network. In each segment, a different speaker discusses a potential investment. After each presentation comes a pause during which students rate the perceived confidence of the preceding speaker. Students watch one speaker and rate that speaker, then watch a second speaker and rate that person, and so on. After all twelve speakers are rated, the video is restarted, and everyone again watches each segment, but this time the students are asked to assess each speaker’s competence. What is the correlation between...

  16. 14 Steer Meetings Your Way
    (pp. 303-328)

    When Lloyd Bentsen stepped down as secretary of the Treasury during the Clinton administration, he was asked what he thought of Clinton’s team. He wryly responded, “This is the meetingest crowd I’ve ever seen.”¹ Most of us can probably think of people in our own work experience who fit Bentsen’s description. Yet despite our ingrained cynicism about meetings, in today’s world, meetings are the venue where many ideas die or thrive. Understanding this, sophisticated advocates consciously plot moves and countermoves to shape the outcomes of meetings.

    In a perfect world, solid preparation and compulsive competence on the part of advocates...

  17. Notes
    (pp. 329-368)
  18. Index
    (pp. 369-387)