Moving an idea forward, through an organization and with the support of your organization’s leadership is not always something that easily comes about. There are likely roadblocks, hindrances, business security issues and possible impact to the finances or profitability of the organization as a whole. Even if the suggested idea can be proven to benefit the firm, you may find yourself performing an Atlas in that you might have the same trouble moving the rock uphill as the ancient Greek god once did.
So, the question likely becomes: How do you turn your idea into a reality?
Gaining the approval of leaders for your idea or getting a “vote of confidence” from leadership when it comes to getting projects to their final decision stage, and obtaining budget approval – perhaps the most important and crucial factor of a project getting off the ground.
Despite the obstacles, the roadblocks and any hesitancies within the political machinations of your organization, are there steps you could take to get your project of the ground? Most likely, yes. For example, maybe you need to present your idea better. Let me explain.
In your presentation, define the problems
Every solution needs a problem. Thus, you need to know what you can solve. To discover this, define a list of the pain points, as well as any potential requirements needed to motivate leaders toward the project. Once defined, work toward understanding how each of these pain points impacts the business and you and your colleagues’ routines. Usually, the impact is on time, money or energy.
- Time: when the pain is reflected via bureaucracy and drawn-out processes;
- Money: when the pain incurs high costs to the company;
- Energy: when the pain is generated as the current effort-levels and energy expenditure ends up affecting your other day-to-day activities.
Translating these problems to financial losses or negative impact is often the best strategy to take when trying to justify investments in solutions.
Prioritize the need
After defining the problems and impacts, draw up a list of your priorities. As a word of advice, make sure that you only present the three you believe are absolutely crucial to the project’s success, to hammer home your point. Don’t dilute your message. The problems that cause the most financial loss are those that will be the most prominent.
Structure the project phases
Structure the project’s activities and distribute them to those who’ll be responsible, to make sure the activities and phases progress smoothly. Begin by dividing activities into phases, and, at each end of phase, take stock of how things commenced. The actions must be objective and possess an end date. Deadlines must be reasonable, measurable and achievable, in other words, they must be goal-oriented. Keep reasonable expectations, and try to avoid overachieving.
Make prior arrangements
After structuring the project, address the expectations of your manager, and detail the importance of the project, any potential investment, and the best possible results that you expect to achieve. Doing so should make approval of the project easier. At this point, you likely find it beneficial to seek feedback for the project opinion and the activities planned and lead a discussion about how the project will proceed.
Demonstrate your results
Once the project has begun, catalogue the results. Prove how the project is or had achieved your goals. Be objective, by detailing the problem, what actions were taken and what was delivered. Finally, give credit to everyone who participated in the project.
By taking these steps, you’ll make this and future projects more agile and you’ll stand out as being a proactive member of the team. Doing so demonstrates your confidence and commitment to your managers, who’ll find it easier to be able to give you more decision-making power in future projects. With this success you’ll likely be able to make additional requests in the future, seek funding, as structuring needs and solutions will justify the increase in value.
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