Do you want manager support for your idea? Then answer these 5 questions when you ask for their buy in.
You have a great idea to improve something at work and now all you need is your manager or an executive to support it. This is where the difficulty lies – pitching an idea to a leader is tough.
Leaders have to choose between hundreds of ideas every year. If the value of an idea isn’t immediately obvious, they will move onto the next.
Don’t let your great idea get overlooked. Make the value immediately obvious by answering these 5 questions in your pitch.
- How much will costs go down?
- How much will earnings go up?
- What is the improvement in productivity?
- How much will the customer or employee experience improve?
- How much will the quality of the output increase?
Answering these question will ensure you’ve made the value of your idea crystal clear.
1. How much will costs go down?
All businesses like reducing costs. If you can show how much your idea will reduce current costs that is going to get the attention of your leaders. If your idea delivers a cost saving put that information right up front.
There is usually a cost to build or put in place your idea before it starts creating the long term savings. Make sure the up-front cost is clear in your pitch. You must also include any ongoing maintenance or support costs. Having up front costs isn’t bad as long as the other benefits make the idea worthwhile.
2. How much will earnings go up?
Companies exist to earn money. If your idea will increase the income for the business that is something the leaders will want to know. If you want manager support for your idea there is no faster way to get it that to tell them how much their earnings will go up!
Make sure you include the time frame for the earnings. Will they increase immediately or at some point in the future? Is it a one-time increase or can it happen again in the future? The more detail you include about the timing, and duration of an earnings increase the better.
3. What is the improvement in productivity?
Getting things done is how a business turns time and resources into income. If your idea improves productivity, efficiency, or speed, that’s good news for the business. Make it clear how much faster things will go after your idea is in place. What time savings can you expect? If the idea improves efficiency, how much will waste reduce?
4. How much will the customer or employee experience improve?
All companies care about the customer and employee experience (and if they don’t, they should!). If your idea improves either of these things that can help convince a leader to back your proposal.
Be specific in your pitch. Make it clear who the idea impacts and how much their experience will improve. Proof is important, so your pitch must show how you plan to measure the improvement. It isn’t enough to say the experience is better, you have to show it.
Surveys, turnover stats, and customer reviews are good ways to measure change.
5. How much will the quality of the output increase?
While some companies focus on cheap and cheerful, most strive for good quality. Better quality at the right price can be a valuable thing. If your idea improves the quality of a product or service that can be worth a lot.
Think about the type of quality your company values. How does your idea improve that quality? Perhaps the build quality will improve, or a web service has less downtime. Whatever it is, say how much better it will be. And, just like experience, you need to say how you plan to measure the quality change.
Successful idea pitches make the value obvious to the audience. You could have the perfect idea but if you don’t make that obvious to the audience you might not get their support.
If you want manager support for your idea, make sure you include answers to these five questions. If you’re worried that your idea doesn’t meet all these criteria, fear not. A big enough improvement in a single area may be enough to get the support of a manager or executive. As long as you make the value obvious in your pitch you will have a better chance of getting the support you want.
For more tips about pitching an idea at work, check out these 1-minute tip videos on my YouTube channel.