(80) How to get buy-in for your ideas and move them forward in your organization?
I took a free course on LinkedIn Learning on this topic and took some quick notes that I thought were worth sharing.
- “Never make it a high stakes pitch. If there is a crucial stakeholder, get him involved early. There is no news in the big pitch.” — Charles Warren, Manager, Mobile User Experience, Google
- “Never make it your idea. Everything that you are doing around building consensus for an idea, never reinforce the point that it was your idea.”-Jamie Myrold, VP, Experience Design, Adobe
- “Do your homework really well. Understand what competitors are doing. Get metrics and analytics for your idea.”- Diana Williams, Sr Manager, eBay
- “The taking something and putting it in an executive’s hands or the equivalent of that as quickly as possible is so important” — Albert Tan, Sr Brand Strategist, Frog Design
Preparing for a Pitch
- “Preparing for a pitch has a lot to do about knowing your audience, understanding your collaborators, and listening to key stakeholders on where their passion lies. Before a pitch is where some of your real work begins.” : Dane Howard, Designer & Entrepreneur
- “The one thing to know is your audience. Who is going to be in that room? Whether or not you are presenting to an executive or a colleague or someone else in the company, who are they, and what do they care about? What do they own? Where they are interested in? What questions are they going to pose?”- Diana Williams
Dealing with Naysayers
- “Naysayers may feel like an obstacle — don’t take the bait. Your emotional control and ability to bring them along will give you insight to build better arguments and plan to move the idea effectively forward.” — Dane Howard
- “More than anything, anybody who has an objection to your idea, you should listen to him. You should always hear to what they have to say because probably you are going to learn something.” — Ryan Tandy
- “A lot of times naysayers actually have a perspective and a point of view, and it’s really important to understand what that perspective is, where are they coming from, trying to address to that need. A lot of times I try to get that feedback ahead of time, even before meeting with them, talking to their friends, their acquaintances, their colleagues, to understand what is the crust of the issue. So then you can formulate your point of view and your perspective” — Diana Williams
- “The other thing also is just to confront people directly. If they say, “Oh, I don’t like your idea,” just kind of make a mental note of that and then rather than in a public situation sort of challenge them, take them out to lunch or meet them afterwards for dinner or for drinks or something. You may find that they turn out to be your biggest ally.” - Albert Tan
- “Now there are times where a naysayer doesn’t change their mind. But if you have enough consensus with other team members, sometimes that naysayer will actually go, “You might agree to disagree,” but still move forward anyway. Other times, they will just go along for the ride, and hopefully it will be the right decision.” — Diana Williams
- “Sometimes if you know people have very different opinions, you might actually choose to have two different meetings rather than bringing everyone into one. If it’s going to be a highly controversial topic, sometimes if it’s a very big project, I might have ten different meetings independently with individual people to kind of talk about their issues, kind of get them bought in on the idea, and the concept, make sure that I can lead them down kind of on a certain path, that I can enter their key questions before getting into the larger group.” — Diana
- “The influence of any idea lies in the careful craft of communicating it effectively. An effective pitch must address and anticipate the concerns and questions of the audience, whether that’s telling a story or putting something tangible into someone’s hands.” — Dane Howard
- “The big mistake the younger product managers and engineers make is they spend a whole lot of time sort of setting up what it is that they are going to talk about, when, basically you just want to show it. So my thing is just put it out there as quickly as you can.” - Charles Warren
- “Get in a room, or get on a wall with a bunch of people with pen, and try to visualize what you are talking about. Take your words and just turn them in pictures, start showing how concepts fit together, and how they link together.”
- “Build it a little ways, fake it somehow, make a drawing, make a use case, make a storyboard, act it out, have somebody come along, and have the person you’re pitching, “You play the user. You are the person in the drive through, and I am the check-out clerk.” Act it out with them. Anything you can do to make it tangible. Again, put something in somebody’s hands, get them to use their body, have them stand up from the desk — whatever it is. Just make it as real as you can. Make that future you want to create, real.”
- “Creative energy will move your idea forward against all odds.” - Rob Girling
- “If you really believe it, there is some infectious quality to that that will permeate a room quicker than sort of data points or sort of really dialed-up kind of beautiful PowerPoint or whatever you are pitching. It’s that belief in why you are doing it, and that sort of conviction that you have that’s “We have to do this.” It never ceases to amaze how effective that is at sort of wining the hearts and minds in the room.” — Cofounder, Artefact
Here are my own opinions on how pitch an idea:
If you are serious about your idea and want your idea to be taken seriously, don’t hurriedly put it out to your management. I have often seen a lot of people shooting off an email with a few links about a new idea. Instead, be very deliberate in structuring your idea by putting in a lot of research and homework. The more homework you put in, the more chances are of being it taken seriously. Build a quick prototype and apply it in a localized context and present the results.