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How To Build Internal Demand For Your Team

Computerworld just reported that Apple sold more than 13 million of its newest upgraded iPhones in its first weekend of retail sales. Wow, 13 million in one weekend! That figure is very preliminary, of course, as it excludes all of the people who wait a couple of weeks until the hysteria subsides a bit. So, over the weeks, the actual numbers will climb significantly higher. That’s not customer loyalty; it’s utter devotion.

The iPhone story got me thinking about the extent of demand for one’s product.

In a lot of ways, your team of direct reports is your product. What’s the internal demand for your team’s engagement and participation? It’s not a trivial question. The old adage “judge a person by the company he or she keeps” has a corporate analogue. That is, your leadership brand is in large part the organization’s perception of the team you’ve built.

Moreover, having a bench of strong and high-performing direct reports is a foundation of your C-Suite readiness.

If you doubt this, try out this exercise: think about a senior leader in your organization perceived as having a low-performing team. What’s his reputation? Now, flip it. Think of another senior leader, this one with an in-demand team. How is she regarded? Having upward momentum, right? Executive material, no doubt. Enough said.

What if you want to build demand for your team? To borrow from Apple’s onetime ad campaign, “there’s an app for that” . . . albeit, an “approach,” rather than “application.” Here it is:

1. Know your clients’ aspirations

The minds at Apple fundamentally understand our aspiration to be cool. Get your team fascinated with your internal clients’ aspirations. Charge team members to identify stakeholders who might be touched by your offering. Dive into customers’ strategic and operational plans to anticipate emerging needs and wants to satisfy.

2. Generate customer yearning

In a market saturated with smartphones, iPhone fans still eagerly awaited the new release. So, too, build anticipation with your internal clients. Communicate what your team is up to now and what’s to come. That’s right; share your plans. Leverage the internal communication platforms IT has to offer. Also, make sure to keep information flowing to organizational influencers and other surrogates so that they can chat you up.

3. Stress the quality of your team’s offering over its supply

Irrespective of how many iPhone orders Apple anticipates, one thing is for sure: no one gets excited about a commodity. When’s the last time a manufacturer of paper clips had people waiting in line overnight for their new model’s release? First and foremost, your team must do good work for its customers. It’s easy to get in a position to over commit, particularly when good buzz gets out. Reward your team members for delighted customers. Demand will follow.

So what I want to know is, in light of what you’ve read here,  what are you going to do to build internal demand for your team?  Leave me a comment.

I hope you found this piece useful. If you like it, share it with your colleagues or someone else you believe might benefit.

If you want to learn more, take our “C-Suite Roadblock Audit,” which will help you identify mistakes you might be making right now that could be hurting your CSuite prospects. You can also download our “Team Optimizer Checklist” to help get your directs aligned. Alternatively, if you’d like to have a brief complimentary call with me feel free to reach out for a 15-minute Strategy Session.

Ephraim Schachter