You are running a campaign. Run it like a pro!

By Gus Lopes, HollyFrontier, 2016 SAPinsight Leader Board Member.

I know you must be a bit tired from hearing all these candidates and talking heads on TV Presidents2discussing the race to the White House. But please bear with me.

The media likes to say, this is “the most consequential election of our lifetime.” I am not so sure, it sounds a bit hyperbolic, doesn’t it? Nevertheless, one thing is certain, the 2016 presidential race is indeed “Yuge” (like one of the candidates likes to say). If we stop and think about these presidential campaigns, the amount of time, energy and money spent is off the charts. It is here, at the concept of campaigning like a pro, where you can trace a parallel between the political world and the work needed to build a strong Super User Community in your company.

As Super Users and Super User Leaders, we are always campaigning. From the very first meeting when the concept of a program such as this is pitched all the way to celebratory events due to group accomplishments, we are always campaigning. Granted selecting, developing and uniting a group of key individuals to become “super” in your company should not need to be a hard sell. However, the reality is, as Super Users and leaders you are always campaigning for your program. Yes, this advocating and championing for your Super User Program is necessary!

Let us take a moment and look at the story of a major international technology company. They were having problems trying to reach an optimal level of SAP adoption after a costly implementation project. Their previous two years had been all about developing technical solutions but they had not spent any considerable amount of time thinking about developing their end-users. Therefore, it was clear an initiative like a Super User Program Presidents3was extremely necessary. A structured “campaign” was critical for the success of such a program. An experienced Super User Leader realizes it is the support across multiple levels within the company that either makes or breaks a program. From motivating users to wanting to become Super, to talking to their managers and directors about what the return on investment is, to having executives enthusiastic about supporting the program, it all starts with a well-developed campaign, not very different from presidential campaigns. You may have reservations about politicians, but we have to admit that running structured campaigns is a condition sine qua non (something that is absolutely needed) for achieving success.

HandshakeWhen building a Super User program there will be uncounted one-on-one meetings, there will be presentations to all types of audiences, there will be a lot of sweating during the planning phases, and you will need a bulletproof level of confidence when faced with challenges. Lastly but definitely not least important, there is the endless need for marketing, communication and PR. It is exhausting! I can only imagine how our politicians must feel after months on the campaign trail. It makes us almost feel sorry for them (emphasis on “almost”).

That is just the beginning! Running such campaign while at the same time performing as a valuable Super User, achieving important objectives as a group, and creating a culture of improvement is not for the fainthearted. Are you ready to run your campaign – I meant program – like a pro?

What is your story-line for the Super User community in your organization?  How are you continuing to prepare and deliver that messaging?  What challenges do you face?  Please join me in this conversation, I would love to hear your questions, stories, and ideas.

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