Trying to sell your improvement ideas in a large corporate environment is not easy with tons of organizational layers, functional and matrix complexities to tackle with before getting the green-light from decision makers.
Often, decision makers will gather the views and thoughts with their next layer below before making their decisions. Hence, it is often useful to engage the the mid-managers early and effectively. We do this not just for their “buy-in” support and saying “Yes”… …but in many cases, if the engagements were done well, these managers could be extremely useful allies to help you sell your ideas to those senior guys.
Below are some tips to share which I had learned from my failures and successful situations which you may find them useful.
The key point is that IF these middle-managers are not prepared and do not have the confidence to do that…THEN most often they will give up or make a half-hearted effort.
Supply Them with the Right “Ammunition”
- Ask them able the nature of their senior leaders’ decision-making preference and do the right preparations.
- Organize facts and supporting information for/with them (esp. to suit the decision makers preferences. Different leaders have their own decision making habits.)
- Explore with them the possible “ WHAT IF ” questions from the senior leaders. Explore the different angles and scenarios with them.
- Explore with them the possible “ SO WHAT ” questions from senior leaders – Example: if we implement this new method, then “So What?” ….what benefits does it bring to our department and the company?
Help them to Prepare Effective and Powerful Conversations / Speeches
- Help them to organize their thoughts for effective and powerful conversation to draw senior leaders’ attention and interest. Providing a summary at the end of your discussions them and writing it down on a follow-on email are often useful tactics to achieve that.
These are managers and you should not tell them directly that you are “helping” them to prepare. Often you should do it in a subtle way as part of your discussions with them. In many cases, these managers will also like to be “part of the game” for good improvement efforts as they will be “part of the credit” .
Note : I am a Lean Master and Six Sigma Master Black Belt Consultant based in Singapore. I am also very active in Data Analytics and Programming. Individuals or Companies interested to learn more or exchange ideas about Lean, Six Sigma and Analytics can drop me a note by Linkedin messaging or to my personal email : firstname.lastname@example.org