Have you ever tabled an idea because you thought your boss wouldn’t be on board? It is critical to understand how the leaders of your company or organization think before you pitch ideas to them. Here's how to ensure decision-makers hear your ideas.
Get inside their minds.
Leaders on your board or in the C-suite compare new ideas to the goals of the organization. The majority of business goals are usually broken down into four categories: organizational growth, keeping stakeholders happy, value and agility. Think about how quickly your idea can be implemented and at what cost.
Know what problems matter most to them.
Think about what business issues are of most importance to your boss. If your president communicated that the most pressing concern is obtaining sponsorships, for example, think about how your idea can help achieve that goal.
Understand your attendees.
Knowing and understanding the customer is critical for organizational effectiveness. Will your idea help grow attendance for next year or add to your company’s bottom line? Bosses think about the customers and the feedback they are providing about your product, so you should too.
Seek effective solutions.
Executives listen to pitches that have the greatest impact on solving a problem. Is your idea effective? Can it deliver solutions? Will your idea deliver a return on investment? Will the benefits outweigh the costs? Can you provide hard facts and accurate data to back up your idea?
Leaders have limited time. They run from one meeting to the next, so if you can’t describe your idea in 30 seconds or less, you’re likely to get a no. Being concise is a fundamental skill to getting your idea heard.
Consider your reputation.
Put yourself in the eyes of your boss: What do others within the organization think about you? Are your ideas credible? If your ideas are always being rejected, you may want to examine your reputation. If you have said or done something that has damaged your reputation within the organization, you may want to consider moving on and starting over.
Think about timing.
Ideas that support what is currently going on within an organization are usually considered, but some ideas can be too forward-thinking. Perhaps the idea requires more time to garner buy-in and support from additional departments. Hang onto it and wait patiently for a time when your organization is ready and able to implement it.
Michele Wierzgac, MSEd is a speaker and author who promises her audience will leave her solution-driven keynotes and workshops with at least one passionate, life-transforming leadership tool. Walk away from her sessions with information that will change the way you seek out solutions and teach you how to practically apply them to your job.