Selling higher ups on slowing down

When it appears that it will take more time to do an effective job of instructional design, higher ups need to sold on slowing down. Tony has asked how to pull that off? (pun intended!) Convincing execs to ease up and to take more time -- is usually a very tough sell; an uphill battle. Wendy made this clear in her response to the January Big Question:

I DO know that my organization is all about speed. Therefore, I am forced to build the minimum, get the training out there so that "training" box can be checked and the implementation project can be considered "complete."

There's very little that would convince higher ups of the merits of a less frantic design effort, as the Same Old Story observed. The search for selling points, empirical research or proven results can set up a sales pitch, hard sell, or "push" strategy. Rather than providing relief from the exec's anxiety or solutions to their problems, it can "put a gun to their head" that implies they would be wrong, bad or stupid to not buy into this. Pressure tactics breed objections and undermine relationships.

In both his blog and book, Jay has refined a forecast made by John Hagel and John Seeley Brown in The Only Sustainable Edge:

I’m not predicting that pull will replace push everywhere we get information, just that the balance will shift more toward the pull end of the spectrum than the push.

When a "pull" selling strategy is working, there is no need to push. The pull strategy has created demand. The customers want what is being sold and they sell themselves on it. We switch from presentation selling to consultative selling. What we're selling is a solution to the customers' problems. They want it because it's does some good for them. The value is intrinsic, just like it is with informal learning.

I suggested three ways to deploy a pull strategy in a recent post: Raising the Bar:

  1. Admit to different timing
  2. Confess your own limitations
  3. Speak the enemy's mind
I'll explore many more facets of pull selling strategies in my next post.

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