The 787 Dreamliner is the biggest innovation in commercial aviation since the Boeing 707 introduced the world to passenger jet travel more than 50 years ago. Thirty-five percent of the major structural components are sourced in Japan, and All Nippon Airways was responsible for many ideas incorporated into the plane. ANA and Boeing celebrated the delivery of the first 787 Dreamliner in September of 2011. Since then, Boeing has delivered 25 Dreamliners to six different customers.

The dream gets better. A year after the delivery of the first 787, Boeing and ANA announced in September of 2012 that the ANA Group has ordered an additional 11 Dreamliners. The order, valued at $2.7 billion at current list prices, bring the total number of 787s ANA has ordered to 66 airplanes.

Also this September United became the first American airline to get the new plane from Boeing. Made from composite materials, the 787 is the first mid-size airplane capable of flying long-range routes. That means new, non-stop routes preferred by air travelers. The Dreamliners can carry 250-290 passengers on routes of 8,000 to 8,500 nautical miles. The airplane uses 20 percent less fuel than today’s similarly sized airplanes. It travels at a speed of Mach 0.85, which is similar to the speed of other Boeing twin-aisle airplanes.

“It’s not often that we have the chance to make history, do something big and bold that will change the world in untold ways and endure long after we are gone,” said Jim Albaugh, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, back  in 2011. “That’s what the 787 Dreamliner is and what ANA and Boeing have done together – build what truly is the first new airplane of the 21st century.”

Landing Your Bet-the-Farm Dream Deal

We were not behind the scenes when the Boeing-ANA deal was struck, but we can guess there was some fear on ANA’s part. Being first can have its rewards, but there are risks too. To land a huge deal, you need to take fear off the table.

What the prospects want to know is “What happens between now and then?”  And you have to be prepared to answer completely and with confidence.

“Trust us.  It’ll be done,” won’t eliminate any fear.

What will help alleviate the worries is a transition map with following parts:

  1. Start with the question:  What can go wrong for every stakeholder? When working on something that is new for the parties involved, you have to start with why they will resist doing anything- and that reason will be around what can go wrong.
  2. Group the fears and the fearful: Because there are shared concerns amongst all of the stakeholders, there needs to be collaboration in resolving the issues. Handling the fears by mandate…for example, “Just make it happen!” will not resolve the fear or change the resistance. It will just anchor the blame.
  3. Set a regular communication schedule with the prospects to keep them fully informed. This often shows up in committees or centers of excellence. The point is to bring the summary of information together across the project and create transparency so that all parties are synced up.
  4. Establish milestones with key performance indicators where you and the prospects can discuss how everything is going.  Define your results threshold for rollout upfront.  At each step, what results do you need and what results do your prospects need to make, so that you can move seamlessly through the steps?
  5. Establish the 30 percent completion point, the 50 percent completion point, and so on.
  6. Establish an ROI schedule that can be used to evaluate the deal.

This transition map is essential on a big deal with a great deal at stake. Do everything you can to reduce your prospects fear, uncertainty and doubt. That’s how you land the “all in” deal of your dreams and avoid the nightmare that is the alternative.

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