Don’t Tell Me What to Do!

One of the greatest obstacles to making synergy work is by issuing decrees.  By that I mean that no marketing executive should tell a business segment of a corporation what to do when it comes to driving internal cross-promotion on a given project.  It is counterproductive.

Suppose business “A” has a project that is a major priority for the overall organization.  The company CEO has placed that priority in the number one spot for cooperation across business barriers.  In some corners of corporate America, business “A,” initiating the project, decides to use the leverage of having the CEO behind the project, and thinks, “Now all I have to do is say that the CEO is directing you, division “B,” “C,” or “D” to participate in cross-promoting my priority project.  That should do it.  What a mistake!  All that will do is evoke the “Don’t tell me what to do!” response considering that business “B,” “C,” or “D” doesn’t report to business “A.”  And using the CEO’s name to leverage a partnership…don’t ever do it.

I remember one of my key synergy constituents that directed the cross-promotional activities at Walt Disney World, an enormous division of The Walt Disney Company that covers over 27,000 acres and houses over twenty-five themed resort hotels, multiple golf courses, and four major theme parks: The Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  She did a great job of maximizing synergy across that property while always remembering very wise words of advice once given to her about synergy from our synergy VP and executive assistant to Michael Eisner.   “One of the most important things I ever learned from our VP was when she told me never to use Michael Eisner’s name to sell a synergy program,” she said.  “The program had to sell the program on its own merit.”

Communication, motivation and persuasion are the ways to fashion synergy wins across a business environment.  Work those values using a strategic communications and hands-on program and business leaders across a company will come to the place you want them to be themselves, like it was their “Eureka!” moment to jump on the priority project bandwagon.

Just one key lesson of successfully playing the synergy game.

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