Ambassadors are empowered to represent you in their
dealings with other groups. They serve a valuable function, extending
your reach and increasing your ability to negotiate favorable
conditions and even capture business. In teams they can be especially
You should at all times be on the lookout for ambassadors to represent
your cause. To identify them, first ask yourself which other groups you
need to be able to conduct business with or influence. Then identify
those you trust who have privileged access to these groups.
To work effectively with a team of ambassadors you must be explicit
about the power you are extending and your intentions. Often
ambassadors receive elite status in exchange for their role. Ask
yourself what benefits befit the responsibilities you are asking for.
I worked once with a women’s group inside a public agency. They started
out as an extracurricular support community, but felt they were being
treated unfairly as a group. This included second class treatment when
it came to promotions, denial of rooms designated for nursing, and
other grievances. They wanted better treatment. They chose not to
litigate but instead self-organized, discussed their cause
collectively, strategized as to the best way to put pressure on the
agency, and took unified, coordinated action.
Several members of the group worked in influential positions around the
agency. The group authorized each of these people to negotiate on its
behalf. Trust was high, and the goals were articulated clearly. These
people were ambassadors of the movement. Their unique positions made
them particularly effective in this role. Because they had been
explicitly given authority to negotiate, they were free to make binding
arrangements. They were highly effective as independent agents and
generated a broad range of coordinated effort along a scheduled
timeline of milestones.
Their results were wide-sweeping and impressive. By holding key
conversations with decision makers, and informally applying uniform
pressure toward common goals they were able to effect real change
without creating a stir. The agency as a whole profited from their
Imagine what a team of ambassadors could do for your cause. Here are
seven things to keep in mind when building an effective team of
bridge between worlds. They should be well anchored in each to serve
2. Teams require coordination and communication. To achieve synergy the
individuals need to be kept abreast of developments including both
successes and setbacks.
3. Ambassadors need to be recognized for their efforts. The recognition
need not be public, but it must be demonstrable among their peers.
4. Ambassadors rely on relationships to get their work done. Choose
people who either come with their own Rolodex or are adept at
5. Equip your ambassadors with relevant materials to ensure their
6. Broker relationships whenever possible, Provide letters of
introduction or, even better, personally introduce ambassadors to key
7. Involve ambassadors in strategy when possible. Help them to see the
big picture so they can respond appropriately as your circumstances
Appointing an ambassador is a sign of great respect. Building a team
confers special status on a group. Treat them as VIPs and equip them
well. Done thoughtfully a team of ambassadors can effectively serve
your cause and generate significant results.