Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Lessons from a Boundary Spanner
In the age of partnerships and collaboration the boundary spanner, people who straddle the needs of their organization and the needs of their organization's constituencies, is ever more valuable and always has been.* That's easy for me to believe because I've been a boundary spanner for multiple non-profits and for-profit organizations. I've also had a chance to view others who are community managers, organizers, salespeople, and basically "front-line public relations strategists" and have a pretty good idea what makes them effective.
Here's what I know...
A few things to look for in an effective boundary spanner:
Has the ability to communicate well - very well
Persuasive in communication and action - must be respected
Has an understanding and an intuition about the organization's external and internal environments
Exudes the energy and confidence of five elephants ... who are also organized and can organize others, thoughts and multiple tasks
Is a cosmopolite who understands discretion and, ironically, boundaries
Does not lose focus of the organization's goals
If you find someone with these qualities, they'll be an incredible asset to your organization. Skilled and effective boundary spanners can grow an organization, help it through tough political climates and carry an organization's brand forward in the midst of chaotic environments via the most effective communication around: one-to-one communication.
As such, here's what most boundary spanners want in return:
Be clear about what you want including with how you like to be communicatedListen to what we convey from our experiences and conversations. Then, follow-up so we know you're listening. For example, we can bring you leads for new partnerships, but whether you want those relationships or not, let us know so we can be responsible to both parties. Our reputation is key.Stay in contact with us. We're easy to forget in the field, but left alone for too long without a tether and tools, we can get divided loyalties.Understand that we are attempting to satisfy sometimes conflicting interestsIf we do well, pay us well. If we're good, we'll see our successes and expect recognition.Fund us. We can double your return on investment. What we do is not always measurable, but if you ask us, we'll prove our worth to you.
The lesson really is that a good boundary spanner strategist can nurture both external relationships and internal strengths. But don't forget to support our work and trust the messages we bring back from beyond. We may seem like Midases (or sometimes act like them), but we're just hard workers who believe in the mission and are fiercely proud when we affect it.
*See Sean Ansett's article, Boundary Spanner: The Gatekeeper of Innovation in Partnerships
for more about the value of boundary spanners.
OneAirSpace BlogCalls to Action in Communication CampaignsNon-profit organizers and for-profit marketers are tasked with essentially the same thing: deliver calls to action (CTAs) that not only influence, but ultimately adjust your consituents' or customers' behavior to your end goal.Mobile MarketingSo "mobile
marketing tactics -
go to where people
are (it helps to have
wheels) and talk to
them about what
you have to offer in
a way that's
days that's with
joy, relevance and
authenticity. The Art of ListeningMy young son came
home from school
and told me he
needed privacy to
meditate. I figured
he was making an
excuse to play
Legos.PR v Marketing Who's Winning Online? Part 2 - The Obama BrandCandidate Obama had a good online integrated communication strategy. President Obama, however, shows what happens when marketing strategies are employed at a greater level than PR.
PR v Marketing - Who's Winning Online? Part 1If looked at simply:
~Public Relations =
loyalty (with a
action; sales (of a
brand)The Power of Two-Way CommunicationDelta Air Lines
will soon be voting
on whether they
want to have a
them to Delta
stakes are high
and the impact of
outcome could be
significant for the
movement.Operational Tactic #1Listen.
That's what the majority of presenters at the eMarketing Association's conference this spring said was the most important action an organization should do online.Lessons from a Boundary SpannerIn the age of partnerships and collaboration the boundary spanner, people who straddle the needs of their organization and the needs of their organization's constituencies, is ever more valuable and always has been.Those Darn Dissidents - How to Respond Known as a relatively liberal newspaper, The New York Times had a stream of Facebook responses bashing the Republican Tea Party following the paper's post of its expose': Tea Party Movement Lights Fuse for Rebellion on Right - http://nyti.ms/b5XdOE .