You have a great idea.
Perhaps it’s an idea about how a process could be optimized. Or how the company could save money.
Better yet, maybe it’s an idea about how you could take on a new responsibility or role.
Well, don’t just sit there and think about! Do something about it! Present your idea and make it come to life!
Yes, of course, it’s a bold move.
Who do you think gets ahead in this world? The meek?
It’s time to step up and present your idea like the badass leader you are.
Do not get it twisted. You can’t just casually ask the question. You can’t just make a gentle suggestion. No, that is not the way to get the affirmative answer you wish to receive.
You are going to write and present your idea as a business plan.
Wait, a business plan? I can feel your stress already. Hold up, it’s going to be just fine. I’m going to walk you through guiding principles that have been road-tested by yours truly. They have never led me wrong.
Don’t make your case about you. Make it about the business.
Repeat after me: It’s not about me. It’s about the business.
It may feel very personal, but don’t make it so.
Even if your mission is so personal that you are losing sleep over it, you must treat it as a business issue.
How is the issue impacting the business? How could the business benefit from your idea? That is the lens that you want to view the issue through.
Separate yourself from all the emotions and consider the request with a cool-headed approach grounded in business realities.
Separate fact from opinion.
Your case must be based on facts. Don’t present a business case without them.
Meaning what do you know to be true, versus what do you think is true?
Here’s a hint. If you build your case with statements that start with the phrases “I think…” or “I feel…” chances are you are basing your arguments on your opinion and not provable facts.
Provide solid facts that provide context and color. Hard facts like statistics or survey data are always a plus. Direct quotes from team members can also be useful here.
Seek win-win situations.
Consider who will hear your ideas. Does your proposal have an upside for your intended audience?
Craft a story that benefits both parties. Approach your presentation from a “we” perspective, as opposed to an “I” perspective.
This is all about making it easy for your audience to say “yes”.
Edit notoriously and summarize succinctly.
Less is more when speaking to executive audiences.
Time is short. You need to craft your story in an efficient manner. Executives don’t want to hear every single detail of your thought process. They don’t want to read 50 bullet points.
Get to the point. Seriously, slides full of statistics and charts mean nothing if you can’t get to the point with clarity and conviction.
If you can’t tell the story simply, you simply aren’t ready to present your idea.
Building a business case to support a new idea is hard work.
This hard work will absolutely pay off.
Because win or lose—YOU WIN.
You just showed up to your boss as a person who boldly puts smart ideas forward in a proactive and deliberate way.
Someone who gives a damn about the company.
Even if your idea is not approved to move forward, you have stood out as an intelligent and driven employee.
Where’s the downside to that? There is none.
But if your ideas connect to the business and making it better, get ready to execute your plan because all signs will point to YES!