Rule 11 If you can’t explain it, measure it or prove it, it will be hard to convince people to fund it or follow it!
Just because I hold something to be self-evident doesn’t mean that my manager will. I know that giving Billy-Bob the new stapler will increase his morale and productivity because I know him and have seen him over time. To my manager though, I am just asking to spend more money.
Or, just whingeing!
My manager will probably want to know, as a minimum, the answers to these questions: “What exactly do you want to do? Why? (What are you aiming to achieve)? How much will it cost? When I see bang for my buck? And, how will you prove it (that you got what you said you would get, and that I got the return on my investment)?”
This involves understanding the key drivers for the manager and applying the What’s In It For You principle. I want to see an increase in Billy-Bob’s productivity and a decrease in his whining about the organisation; whereas the manager may be more concerned with having me in their office less often, seeing an increase in productivity and seeing costs decrease. So I need to present my data accordingly; put it in measurable terms, and then outline how I will measure it for my manager.
Seldom do I influence people just because of What’s In It For Me!
By the way, some managers are resistant to requests because they are already so busy, and may see my request as yet another problem that they have to solve, on top of all of the existing ones.
Swap perspectives and make it easier for people to accept the proposal. And if that means that I have to do some of the work by coming up with the solution, mapping out the case and the plan, exploring alternative cost-reduction opportunities, pre-filling-out the requisition, and offering to do the measuring and reporting, so what? I may just increase the chance of convincing people to approve or fund my idea.
The same can apply for staff, colleagues, and suppliers. Do all of my staff really care about what is good for the Organisation, or for the community or for our reputation? Or are some more concerned about how this change will affect them? What they stand to lose? Or even, how they might struggle to learn how to adapt to the new system as quickly as their colleague.