How to Become a Better Digital Advocate
If you have all the essentials to be a digital advocate, what else do you need to be effective?
This is the first in a series of articles on this important topic. The intent? To empower you, a Digital Advocate, to become someone who can effectively implement your chosen solution.
As you may have ready in earlier posts, we define a Digital Advocate as someone who can envision a digital solution to a tricky business problem. The challenge may be small in terms of the simple fix required, but it has an impact on the business that's big enough to catch your attention.
Now, you can't set it aside. You keep seeing the places where your solution would make a difference, but you feel a bit strange: why doesn't everyone else see the same thing. Maybe you have been talking to a few others and they agree: you are on the right track.
But will it be enough?
Our experience at Shift Interactive tells us that even if you are the CEO or Board Chairman, there are common challenges all Digital Advocates face.
Sometimes you may get lucky. You present your solution to the right person over lunch, they thank you, and go ahead and spear-hear its implementation while you watch from the sidelines, beaming.
Unfortunately, it almost never goes that way! Instead, you are likely to run into a few obstacles. In this series, we'll look at them in depth so that you can learn from the experiences of others. Here are the first three mistakes to avoid.
Mistake #1: Not Being Thorough
While you may have an initial understanding of the problem and solution you are suggesting, it may not be enough to stand up to scrutiny. If you truly want to make the change happen, you must invest some legwork to determine the following:
- what are the material costs of the existing problem?
- what is the emotional toll?
- what will happen in the future if the problem is not solved?
- why has the problem not been solved before?
- what are the features of your digital solution?
- how will the organization benefit from it?
If you prepare answers to these questions, you'll think through the steps someone will have to take when preparing to sell it to others in your organization.
Mistake #2: Expecting an Easy Sell
When people hear your answer, you may think that they should respond logically. After all, they are rational...you think.
Unfortunately, that's not how organizations work. Instead of being optimistic, you need to prepare yourself for the full range of responses. This includes outright opposition. Or inertia. Skepticism. Plus, some who suspect your motives.
This isn't said to discourage you, but to help you prepare for those moments when, as a Digital Advocate, having the right technological answer just isn't enough.
The solution is to develop the knowledge, skills and awareness to be a great agent of change.
Mistake #3 Giving Up Too Early
Jeff Bezos is known for saying that some changes are inevitable. If that's true, then you may be fighting a war of attrition. In many cases, your company will either adapt or go out of business.
As the prophet of the future, there's no need to call for immediate damnation, hell-fire and brimstone if your words aren't heeded. Instead, trust that over time the company will have to use the technology.
For example, it's becoming obvious that Annual General Meetings (AGMs) need not be in-person affairs. Now, your company can take advantage of all sorts of communication packages that allow not only one-to-many-communication, but also peer-to-peer connections.
This is a light, inexpensive, easy-to-learn solution to a nagging problem that is more than a passing fad. Arguably, it will become inevitable, just like Work From Home has become an imperative in a matter of months.
In summary, there are lots of mistakes to make as a Digital Advocate but these are a few that should keep in mind. There are others, and our job in the community here at Shift Interactive is to support you in avoiding them entirely.