[Tool] The WIIFM Understanding Check

It's not enough to tailor "your" output stakeholders. Your stakeholders may need something entirely "different."

[Tool] The WIIFM Understanding Check

Note: "WIIFM" is an acronym. It means "What's In It For Me?!" Said simply (since this is not a blog on psychology 😀), it implies that people are more likely to accept what you want from them, if they understand how your proposal is in their self-interest. (E.g., see Forbes for one of many further explanations.)


It's a tired cliché that you must tailor to the audience. It should go without saying. And yet, too often innovation teams do it badly.

Often, innovators talk with stakeholders about their value proposition ("value prop"), solution, business, tech, or operations. They value this approach themselves and believe their stakeholders will do so too. (Again, not always. Too often.)

But sadly, leaders, approvers, and implementers need something other than what we would value. They need to how our work helps them, by their own standards. In other words, they ask: "What's in it for me," aka "WIIFM?"

Innovation teams then must take time to "translate" their output into the languages of their stakeholders.

And it's not as simple as just "deciding to tailor to the audience." It's about building actual empathy with your stakeholders and showing in your actions that you care.