Rally Key Influencers: How to Find the Right People in Your Organisation to Recruit to Your Cause
As we covered here, You can’t deliver success on your own.
Great, so now that we have established that, let’s look at how you are going to ensure you have the support that you need to create a High Value PMO.
A crucial element of your PMO’s ultimate success is its ability to rally your organisation’s key influencers to your cause. These are the people that form the connective tissue of your organisation, which makes them the best people to recruit to your cause.
To save you time, I’ll show you the scientifically backed way to find these people using just 2 questions.
Introducing Internal Influencers
‘Social Influencer’ – a career that didn’t exist just a few years ago is now a rapidly growing arm of the marketing efforts of businesses worldwide. With increases in dedicated influencer spend each year, projections suggest that between $5 and $10 Billion dollars were spent on influencers in 2020 alone.
It’s clear that this group hold real power.
Social Influencers can take a multitude of forms – from beauty and fitness Instagram celebrities to video game streamers on Twitch or Vloggers on YouTube.
But, not everyone wants to be an Instagram star. There are many who want to excel in finance, marketing, project management, leadership, or some other form of valuable service.
What’s interesting for us is that, like social influencers in broader society, in every organisation there are key internal influencers scattered throughout. These people wield unbelievable power… and if you are serious about being a High Value PMO, then these are the people you need on your side.
The Connective Tissue Of Your Organisation
Albert-László Barabási, a leading Professor of Network Science, found that no matter the network – from the grand expanse of the Internet to our own social groups – linkages form in the same patterns: Hubs and Nodes.
What results is something like the diagram below.
Here, let me prove it.
Take a moment and think about how you find most of your information and even access most websites online. Hell, how did you find this page?
Did you manually type in the URL?
Sometimes perhaps – but most likely you find your information through one of the big connective Hubs. Google, Facebook, Bing or similar. On even cursory consideration, it’s clear that the internet functions using this Hub and Node model.
Now, similar question – how do you find out information within your organisation? You probably go to just one or two people. These people are your information Hubs. Trace enough of these information connections and you would again start to see a picture of Hubs and Nodes.
What this means is that you have people in your organisation that are ‘connection hubs’ – people with a disproportionate number of social connections to the rest of the organisation. These people form the connective glue between staff.
Now, if you are strategically minded, you might already be starting to see the value of these connectors.
That’s right – these are the people we want to help us implement our vision. By consciously recruiting and targeting these key connectors within our organisation we will both maximise our outreach (reducing the communication effort needed), while rear-guarding ourselves from the inevitable organisational politics that we all love to hate.
Now, you may be thinking here,
“That all sounds good, but how in the world am I going to find these people?!”
Well, are you ready to have your mind blown?
It’s only going to take you 2 questions.
Finding Your Internal Influencers
It is at the intersection of two key types of people that we find our internal influencers:
- Type 1: The Value Adders. Value Adders are people that others love to work with because they carry more than their load, add something useful to every engagement and love to do so.
- Type 2: The Information Brokers. Information Brokers are the local go-to points for all relevant news, updates and (non-detrimental, honest) gossip.
The cool thing is, finding these people is surprisingly easy when you ask the right questions. The approach we are going to use is inspired by the concept of Snowball Sampling, a technique popular in statistics and sociology.
For any group that you are looking to identify the key internal influencers in, you merely need to run a simple survey that asks just 2 questions.
- If you could work with any three people from across the <group/branch/organisation>, on any project, who would they be?
- If you needed to be filled in on organisational news, key updates or gossip, who would you go to first?
Then all you need to do is collate the data. A simple tally of the names is enough to get started. The more times a name comes up, the higher that person’s internal influence.
For the Data Nerds
For those data nerds amongst us (you know who you are), feel free to further query the information. Some other lenses to consider when examining the data include (but aren’t limited to):
- Which organisational areas have the most influencers?
- Who are the highest influencers across multiple groups, within certain sets of interesting parameters?
- Which influencers have the most inter-team connections?
- Are the influencers slanted towards formal leadership roles or are they typically peer level?
Enlisting Your Internal Influencers
If you’re in the PMO game, you’re likely familiar with the concept of Change Champions. In case you aren’t, here’s a quick summary.
A Change Champion is typically someone outside of your team or project that is skilled up and enlisted as a peer-level support and evangelist within other teams or groups. They allow you to have a wider reach without needing to directly deploy staff into those areas.
This is exactly the approach to take for your newly identified Internal Influencers. Engage and skill up your influencers in your PMO offerings. Listen to their feedback and ensure you bring them ‘under your banner’.