You’ve got a great idea! You and your team have researched, planned, and tested it. You’ve worked for weeks preparing your presentation, and even created a PowerPoint with graphs and charts. This is going to be the next big thing for your company. But, before you take your place at the front of the boardroom, make sure you’re not setting yourself up for failure with these five sure fire ways to flunk your big pitch to the top executives.
Involving them in the process at the end.
Keeping top decision makers in the dark on a project until the final decision is a great way to come to a screeching halt before crossing that finish line. On occasion, they might give their blessing, but you’re more likely to get delayed, tasked with more research, or told no if you haven’t included them in the process. Get their endorsement from the get-go, and keep them updated so they feel some ownership and input in the program and its creative process.
Talking to them like they’re newbies.
Just because they may not be involved in the day-to-day business of your department, don’t treat them like the new kids on the block. It’s their job to know about the inner workings of the company and how each department impacts the grand scheme of things. So, you and your idea are going to get put in your place rather quickly if they feel you’re being condescending.
Thinking they’re going to know all the details.
On the flip side, don’t expect them to recall all the details. You’re busy multi-tasking, but so are they. So, give them enough details to jog their memory if you’ve kept them in the loop since the idea’s inception. Also, be ready with all the facts in case they need a more in-depth briefing or want you to present to someone else with no knowledge of the project.
Focusing on the short-term impact to your department.Your executives are in their positions for a reason – probably in part to their long-term, strategic vision for the company. So don’t sell them on how this new idea is going to be a world-class marketing campaign or is going to make your IT team members’ lives easier. Show them how this idea fits hand-in-hand with the overall corporate strategy and is going to positively impact profitability in the long-run.
Expecting a quick, simple “yes.”
If you’re asking for approval from the C-suite, then your idea has the potential to be big, which also translates into a big time investment and a big financial venture. Keep those risks in mind and don’t think you’re going to get an instant, exclamation of “yes!” As an article in BusinessWeek pointed out, even top executives known for getting behind innovations, such as Steve Jobs and Alberto Alessi, have a default answer of “no” and turn down hundreds of ideas for every one they get behind.
Avoiding these five no-no’s won’t guarantee you a nod of approval and an expanded budget, but, either way, you will come away feeling supported and leave your boss with a good impression.