Developing your Intranet Manager career: it’s all about partnerships
This is a guest post by Mark Morrell. Mark works as an Associate Consultant for ClearBox. He was formerly intranet manager for BT Group, and now blogs and works as Intranet Pioneer, helping companies with intranet and digital workplace strategies and governance.
In January, I wrote that Intranets are transforming into digital workplaces. In 2015, organisations no longer just talk about ‘digital’. They are taking steps to improve online content and apps so people are better connected, more productive, and effective.
This is a great opportunity for your organisation to make significant improvements. It is also great news for intranet practitioners. I call this a ‘once in an intranet career’ opportunity to make your long-held plans become the digital reality you want.
To achieve this you will need a clear strategy, plan of action (budgeted and approved), strong foundations with a governance framework, and publishing standards implemented to give people a consistently good user experience.
However, you cannot do this on your own. You will need people’s support to achieve this. You need to get your transformation approved and plans funded by the senior managers responsible for making these decisions.
As your intranet transforms into a digital workplace so the people you need to work with will expand and change. That will involve you investing time building relationships with new and existing senior managers. They will be your stakeholders who will be at the top of your governance hierarchy.
Your approach should be to invest at least as much time connecting with your stakeholders as identifying business requirements for technology. Getting that balance right will be a giant step forward to likely success. Asking people to approve your transformation when they are familiar with and where they understand its importance improves your chances of success.
It is essential your stakeholders have a clear picture with timescales, owners, costs and benefits. It is the best way for you to do justice to the time and effort everyone will be giving. You need to get involved with the key areas and functions of your organisation to make this happen.
The most important consideration for you is how you invest your time and effort developing your relationship with each stakeholder. As I have mentioned before, this is the most critical part to your transformation. Software may occasionally have faults and not behave as expected. However, when you compare that to human behaviour it is relatively straightforward diagnosing a problem and finding a solution!
The relationships you have with stakeholders are the key to the success or failure of your transformation. You need to identify the different personalities and characteristics of each person. You also to understand their part of the business, what keeps them awake at night worrying, what are their plans to succeed and how they will improve their business area or function.
All these will help you prepare before each contact with a stakeholder. You can relate to their situation and talk their language. You can also show where your plans can help to improve any business problems or support business successes and improvements. Achieving any of these will help develop the relationship and demonstrate the benefits of your transformation.
It will also help you prepare before you have any meetings. These could be face-to-face or virtual or a mix of both. You will need the right agenda. You can present each point you need their decision on. Again, this can take a lot of time sometimes but getting the best decisions will save far more hours of effort in future.
Without good relationships with most, if not all, your stakeholders, your role will be very difficult to carry out. In some cases, it may become impossible. This will affect you as well as the effectiveness of people who use it.
Get it right and your transformation will be more successful, achieved more smoothly, and have stronger support. It will also raise your profile with senior managers. You will learn new and enhance existing skills. Your overall credibility will improve that should sustain your future career. It will also make future changes easier to approve.
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