Tuesday, March 17, 2009

So what?

To give your ideas the best chance of being sold answer the "so what"? 

It's not enough to know that 2+2 = 4, what you do with 4 provides real value to your organization.

Unfortunately for those of us trying to sell our ideas, our managers' time is short. Last year, at a presentaiton by Christensen Investor Relations in Calgary, the presenter mentioned a study showing CEOs will switch their attention every 60 seconds unless they see value in the infomation they are reviewing.

So how do you avoid being 1 (minute) and done with your manager next time you pitch an idea?

Someone, I really wish I could remember who, gave me the following system, which they called the "60 second report".

15 seconds - summarize current situation (shareholder revolt, product recall, quarterly earnings call)
30 seconds - identify 3 options for resolving current situation (the "what")
15 seconds - recommend 1 option for resolving current situation and why (the "so what")

Instead of just summarizing the current situation and staring blankly at our manager for direction, the 60 second report quickly gives our manager (who is probably dealing lots of other issues as well), some guidance on how to resolve the situation you're describing. 

As much as "Free Agent Nation" sounds exciting from an employee perspective, employers will look for their current crop of free agents to not only provide "what"s, but "so what"s to justify their investment.

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