You like ideas but your boss needs facts

Pic Credit: Ambro

Pic Credit: Ambro

Have you ever had a great vision for a product or service? Maybe you thought the weekly staff meeting was the perfect venue to present it. It finally gets to be your turn, and you speak excitedly about the potential applications and improved service to the customer - only to be shut down by the boss with questions about ROI and market segment analysis.  

It's true, times aren't getting any easier, and it's important to watch one's expenses. Many companies, including multi-national corporations, have tightened belts and strictly allocated funds to specific projects only. No margin of error allowed.  

How can you translate your idea into numbers? 

For people who trust fact-based information, starting with an idea or vision is the wrong way around. They need numbers and details first in order to be able to see the tapestry of what could potentially arise. 

If you think the details will work themselves out once the vision is set in motion, your more specific boss may not be in a position to give you leeway to test things out. You need to translate your idea into their language.

  1. Instead of starting with the vision and working backwards, present a step-by-step plan beginning at the beginning and then zooming out towards the end-product or situation.
  2. Make sure your language is factual and avoid exaggerations. Your numbers should be solid and you'll need to be able to provide source material if asked. And no, Wikipedia doesn't count. Try studies backed by industry publications or national statistics institutes.
  3. Be realistic in your timeline and budget calculations. Pull a team member in to bounce your ideas off of for a second opinion before presenting it to the boss.
  4. Stay excited about your vision. If I haven't lost you reading at point 1, because I know none of these probably sound appealing to you, please keep your mind fixed on the end goal. What is it you want to achieve and contribute? Your idea is great and yes, it would add to the bottom line and yes, it would make the world a better place. That's a big deal! Now it's up to you to be able to sell it. And to do that, you have to jump through some hoops. If your goal is worth that, and you can show solid numbers and potential based on facts, I have no doubt you'll see it through.  

If you often feel like you and your boss are talking a different language, why not consider taking my MBTI® for Couples? No worries, the report can be adapted to work styles instead of romantic relationships. ;-)