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Key #5: Get Buy-in From the Bosses
Getting to that level of openness requires buy-in from the top, and cooperation across the organization. At Ford, Bold Moves was driven by a cross-functional team that included people from marketing, public affairs, sales and service, and other parts of the company. The documentary required approval from top executivesnot that the company can really hide from its problems, which are big news; in late January, Ford made headlines with the announcement of shocking 2006 losses totaling $12.7 billion.
Support from the top matters in any organization. On the campaign trail, "The Edwardses [the candidate and his wife, Elizabeth] are a big force behind this," says Montoya. "They get it, and one reason is that wherever they go, people ask them about their book club, or their podcasts, so they can see it working in real time. People are showing up at events because of the connection they've made online, so there's validation, and not a lot of proving to be done. The site becomes a focus group, and you'd better believe the Edwardses read it."
Ironically, the original Edwards for President campaign had a notably weak Web presence in 2003. "Who knew how powerful blogging would be?" says Montoya. "Now it seems like the natural trajectory, from print to video. It's a mindset. If companies are smart, they will understand its power." n