Game-Day in the U.S.
Finally, they had to get approval from the board of the North American organization. This was not going to be easy, regardless of their level of support from the engineering and business sides. Not every product innovation is necessarily good for the overall business longer term.
Mark assembled his team of presenters. They formulated their line of argumentation very carefully. Each knew exactly what message they had to get across and how. They worked for four straight weeks, coming together on Saturdays to tighten up and practice their team presentation, recruiting other colleagues to play the part of skeptical board members. It was intense, but also great fun for all, going out for pizza dinner on each of the four Saturday days.
When it came to „game day“, they got approval. The critical questions were asked, and there were several moments where it seemed that they would fail at getting the support of one powerful member of the board. The presentation and discussions took them well over the budgeted time.
During the breaks Mark and his team huddled together with their laptops re-doing calculations, moving slides around and pulling in images from their server. A few subject area experts had to be brought in quickly to respond to detailed questions. At times the tension was very high, but they remained consistent in their message and cohesive as a team.
That was convincing to the board. A few, not unimportant, issues remained unsolved, but that was ok for all in the room. Innovation always involves risk. At the end of what seemed to be a marathon meeting, the CEO of the North American organization broke out a big smile and said:
„Great work, team. We‘re behind you 100% on this. I‘ll talk to the big boss in Germany and get a date for you to present to them. But remember, our German colleagues will be do their best to find the weaknesses in your plan. You‘ll need to dress warmly as they would say!“
Mark and his colleagues glanced at each other, smiled, stood up. Mark thanked their board members for affording them so much time. Once out of the conference room they broke into cheers, laughter, back-slapping. Mark pumped his tight-fisted right arm into the air: „Yes!!! Let‘s go celebrate!“
Mark and his team succeeded. Now review and refine your thoughts on what it means to be persuasive in the American business context?