Messenger is how I work with organizations long-term on a project basis.
Your project (or campaign) is one of radical, transformative change. You’re currently in one place (A) and you want to move to another place (B). You want to move quickly. You want the move to be as painless as possible. You want – and need – your team to buy-in to this change.
Long-term can be a time-frame as short as a few weeks to as long as as six-months or a year.
Your company is either:
- Going through a phase of rapid, high growth
- Attempting to make a radical change in focus and/or culture
My job as Messenger is to:
- Understand where you are (A) and where you’re going (B).
- Develop a clear and simple message about moving from A to B.
- Articulate that message over-and-over to every employee within the organization using a variety of communication techniques from group presentations to one-on-one meetings to video to written correspondence.
- Obtain 80-90% buy-in within a defined time-frame.
- Provide regular, high-level feedback on the progress of the campaign and make recommendations so that the 80-90% buy-in becomes reality.
My job as Messenger is NOT to:
- Define the change that is necessary. I’m NOT the person who helps you define where you currently are (A) and where you want to be (B). That decision has already been made.
- Attempt to change what your new focus, culture, or direction (i.e. B) should look like or be.
My formal definition of Messenger is a person employed to convey official dispatches or to go on other official or special errands. So, my job as Messenger for your organization is simply: convey your message of change to your employees as a special messenger.
Because words have different meanings and different connotations to different people, I accept that Messenger is not perfectly precise in describing all that I do. Therefore, I’m listing ten other names that also describe the role I play to help your organization move from A to B.
- Character Messenger
- Internal Spokesman
Again, no single word perfectly describes how I help organizations from from A to B. I’m unique.
Here is a description of each of those terms and how you’ll benefit from my service.
Ambassador is an authorized messenger or representative; diplomatic official. That’s exactly what I am and what I do – I communicate your message of change in a diplomat fashion. Ambassador is imperfect in that it’s primarily thought of as a government official – stuffy and formal. I’m exactly the opposite – friendly, spontaneous and approachable.
Because of my 20+ year portrayal of Forrest Gump, I’m clearly a character. The trust and good-will of the character enables me to approach your employees and to be approachable. Delivering your message of change using the friendliness and credibility of the character is invaluable. It is one of the most important reasons I’m able to make your transformational change occur.
Evangelist is defined as a person marked by evangelical enthusiasm for or support of any cause. Evangelical, in this case, means ardent or zealous enthusiasm for a cause. In the technology world, Guy Kawasaki?s coined the term when his official title for Apple Computer was Evangelist. In Silicon Valley, the term Technology Evangelist has become common to describe individuals who enthusiastically support and promote a specific technology or product. This is all well and good, but is imperfect as it’s most common meaning is associated with specific religions and preaching – which is NOT what I do. What I do is become an enthusiastic supporter of your cause.
Surrogate is a person appointed to act for another; deputy. It perfectly describes what I do as I become the deputy of the CEO. I act on her behalf. Synonyms include substitute, representative, agent, and/or proxy. These all accurately describe the function and role performed but lack sex-appeal or marketing cachet.
Intermediary is a go-between who acts between persons; one who serves as an intermediate agent. Again, this definition perfectly describes my role. Intermediary also implies mediation. Mediation implies a back-n-forth. My role is more one-way (e.g. From A to B) and NOT about redefining B as B1, B2, or C. While the listening that occurs does provide useful feedback, the listening and feedback all focus on the ultimate goal of moving from A to B.
Mover is a powerful and influential person in business; one who is energetic and ambitious. I consider my role to be influential in my approach and powerful in my results. Energetic in style and ambitious towards transformative change.
Promoter is a person that promotes, furthers, or encourages; one who initiates or takes part in the organizing of a company. You want your company to move from A to B – my job is to promote and encourage B, and further the movement from A to B.
An Internal Spokesperson is a person who speaks for another to a closed group. In this case, I’m speaking for the CEO to the organization’s employees and associates. I’m not speaking to the general public as the nature of your change intuitive is typically private and confidential to the group.
Advocate is a person who speaks (or writes) in support of a cause; a person who pleads on behalf of another. I become your advocate. I’m advocating your change initiative. I’m advocating for the movement from A to B. I’m pleading on behalf of you – the CEO, the Board, and/or the management of your organization.
A Servant is a person in the service of another. Technically, I’m working in service of the CEO for the purpose of performing advocacy from A to B. I believe my role is greater and includes being in service to every employee who needs to embrace B and willingly let go of A. The servant and service mindset enables openness and receptiveness. Individuals can?t be forced – they must choose.
Messenger is my way of helping organizations quickly make radical, transformative change. I’m a hired-gun with a single purpose: help move your group from A to B. My participation with your company is temporary. I deliver your message of change in a way that gets wide-spread, personal buy-in of 80-90% of the employees. I can help your organization move from A to B quickly and with a minimal amount of pain and disruption.
So what term should you use to describe what I do? Messenger? Internal Spokesperson? Ambassador? Gump? …
I don’t care. You decide… My goal is to help you move from A to B as quickly and painlessly as possible.
This post was originally published on SpeakingGump.com on June 28, 2016.
It has been updated and edited to appear here on ChangeByGumption.com
Communicator, Forrest Gump lookalike, Strategist
– Brand Ambassador, Change Agent, Speaker, Writer
– Gump-like Messaging, Simplicity, Values
– Big Picture, Bottom Line, Visual Mapping
Learn more about Steve here.
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