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Sometimes the Messenger is as Important as the Message

Collaboration
Conflict solving
Convincing

29 March, 2019

Mike’s role as a technology consultant for multiple digital agencies was put the to test when teams resisted participating in data sharing across agencies.

Problem

The technology consultancy I worked for was acquired by a large advertising conglomerate, and they put our management team in charge of a group of the digital agencies that were already part of the firm. I joined the leadership team to lead the transformation PMO, which would work on a couple dozen projects to integrate these together. I also helped lead some of the individual projects where I had specific interest and expertise. I worked with the C-level execs of multiple companies, their direct reports, and senior project leaders assigned to projects across the portfolio. Some of these I recruited and placed, others were already working on these activities as their regular job.
There were lots of problems, from wildly varying maturity of tools and processes to poor sales pipeline tracking. But the biggest one I dealt with directly was team members of various agencies not wanting to participate in data sharing. They felt their methodologies were proprietary to their brand, and shouldn't be exposed to the other digital companies.

Actions taken

While in competition situations, these concerns would be understandable and valid. But we were wanting to use these teams' expertise on projects that would cross brand boundaries, adding value to their brand as well as the parent company brand. It would benefit them to enable others to leverage their methodology on client projects. I spoke with the CEOs of each agency, who I had been working with on other parts of the transformation program, and they agreed to endorse the sharing and validate the business benefits and impact of opening up their methodology to the group.

Lessons learned

They agreed to share, and that helped us pull them into many more projects than they would have had access to, plus the rest of the group benefited from their knowledge and they had a larger team of capable practitioners to utilize on projects. But they wouldn't have believed in these benefits without hearing about them from their own leaders, who had already earned the respect of their teams over significant time.


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