How to present an idea to your boss/step by step

Having projects approved in companies is always a challenge . You saw that latent problem and had an idea of ​​how to solve it, but to make the idea a reality, you need resources (people, capital, equipment), you have to present the idea/project to your boss and convince him to accept the fight with you. How to present an idea to your boss?

If you got here, great! Has the proactivity and courage to face the uncertain. And, for you, I raised some tips to strengthen your positioning and arguments and to build your strategy . Do not consider it a checklist . At some of these points you may not have an advantage, but it will not be an impediment to your project. Good reading!

First of all…

The first consideration is whether you are in a position to sell your ideas to the company and your boss . Don’t get me wrong, but this is pretty serious. I still remember that, with less than a month working at a company in the US, I had tracked down a very serious logistical problem and designed a solution with an American colleague. I presented at the monthly team meeting and was categorically abused by the American manager. He wasn’t wrong in doing that, after all, it was culturally accepted behavior and, between us, who was that Brazilian recently hired?

Another thing, your boss has to make sure you execute what you’re proposing . So, a track record of credibility and responsibility helps a lot.

Finally, see the possibility of including the decision maker still in the ideas stage. This part can be difficult depending on the company’s culture. Here, at Mobiliza, we are very open to ideas from anyone . If the proposal is relevant, if it attacks a latent pain in the company, we ask the person to develop the project and present it. But there are places where, in order to present the idea, the project must already exist. So, take a good look at how culturally the place where you work is. How to present an idea to your boss?

Before writing the project

Think about the company’s strategic goals and what it wants to achieve. Think about the big picture! (in a free translation: think about the macro, about the mission!). Even if your project is super important, there may be actions with higher priorities or that solve more urgent problems, with greater impact.

Think of the Marketing front of an automaker, for example. The biggest problem is usually selling and training the sales force . So, offering a project that improves communication between sectors – reducing loss of information – can be very relevant, but it is not a priority. It is not an impediment, but it is a situation in the environment , where you want to propose the project, which must be taken into account.

Start writing the project!

Here you will have a lot of work in addition to your normal company activities. It doesn’t hurt to say not to bluff at any time. Take the time and do your research , build the project and provide tangible value from trusted sources. Designing a project demonstrates responsibility and commitment. After all, you’re not kidding there.

With your research, try to come up with concrete numbers . Depending on the profile of your decision maker, come up with more or less numbers (I’ll talk about this below). And, if possible, try to structure your project in stages that reduce the risk of execution. A good tactic is to start with an investment in a driver . If it is not well accepted, you can choose an alternative route or even cancel the project. Either way, steps lower the risk and increase the chance of the project being approved.

To design the project, answer at least the questions below:

  • What is the problem that will be tackled? (only one problem!)
  • Who will benefit from this solution? Like?
  • Who can help us with this project?
  • What is the deployment cost?
  • What is the execution schedule?
  • Who will manage this project?
  • What are the main project tasks and milestones?

It is not necessary to assemble a mega-detailed project, but a well-made and grounded macro drawing will do the job. Try to anticipate difficult questions that might occur in the presentation. And, whenever possible, post similar case studies from your market or industry, or even from companies with similar operations and management to yours. How to present an idea to your boss?

For example, startups can use cases from startups that serve another market.

Present your idea and project

Before presenting, understand the profile of your boss and/or decision maker:

  • How does he like to receive ideas and talk: by email, in a face-to-face meeting, by skype or at lunch?
  • How do you like to see the information? Through visual presentations, spreadsheets (with more or less numbers)?

Present your project the way he likes to receive ideas. A common mistake is to set up the project in the way you believe is best. People are different and like to receive information in different ways.

In my case, for example, I like to receive documents by email with project steps. Then I have time to read, do research and digest the information. I don’t like to get ideas at lunch.

On the spot, give a presentation from your boss’s point of view. What does he get by approving the project? What synergy does the project have with his vision? How can the project generate positive results for him and for the company? Here we’re not talking about flattering the boss, but inserting him into the idea, picking up the fight and helping you defend the project. More than approval, it is essential that the boss wants the project to succeed. How to present an idea to your boss?

Extra tip: a very good strategy is to call a partner or supplier to help you present your project. A lot of technical information your partner can work around, while you can focus on the project’s strategic plan.

In the end, if it didn’t work…

Don’t be upset if your boss doesn’t approve of the idea. Try to understand why it didn’t work: budget, priorities, bad presentation, very new in the company, little relationship with the boss. Try to understand and learn from the reason and move on!

In summary , the 10 main points we saw in this article :

  1. Check if you are in a position to sell ideas in your company.
  2. Generate a credibility history.
  3. See the possibility of including the decision maker still in the project ideas phase.
  4. Think about what the company wants to achieve and how your project can help.
  5. Do research, gather relevant information and provide tangible value.
  6. Try to reduce project risk by breaking it down into smaller steps.
  7. Design your project!
  8. Look for similar case studies.
  9. Present the project in the form and model that your boss likes to receive ideas from.
  10. Defend the project from your boss’s point of view in the organization. How to present an idea to your boss?

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