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In Part 1 of this 2-part look at how to get a YES from your boss, we covered how to successfully lay the groundwork for approaching your boss with your idea, need, or suggestion.
Remember, you’ll need to be sure to:
– Time it right
– Do your homework to bring useful metrics to the table to back up your point
– Be clear and thorough so your proposal will have no holes in it
– Lead with your request so your boss isn’t having to guess where you’re going with it
– View and approach the idea from your boss’s perspective, not just your own
Here’s what to cover next when you’re talking to your boss about your idea:
1. Anticipate Objections and Show that you’ve thought of pros and cons
You don’t want your boss to have to think up and point out the problems with your suggestion, because that will only be giving him a reason to be looking for the reasons to say “No”. Beat him to the punch by thinking through every possible objection he may have, and prepare talking points for each of them and overcoming every objection. And then…
2. Offer solutions to the drawbacks
If you know and prepare for the drawbacks so your boss doesn’t have to think he’ll have to spend time resolving it for you, you’ll be more likely to get your boss to say Yes. Showing you have considered both sides also makes you more credible, with a stronger argument. It becomes a collaboration with your boss to solve joint problems, rather than you just trying to get something from them or sell them on something.
3. What’s at stake if your idea is not green-lighted?
You can also make your idea more compelling if your boss can see there really are tangible and sizable drawbacks to not going with your idea. You don’t want to threaten or make ultimatums or anything, but if the drawbacks for your boss are genuinely bigger to not approving it than to approving it, “Yes” will come much easier.
4. Suggest a pilot, rather than a full commitment
If it paves the way for an easier Yes, be wiling to suggest implementing your idea as a pilot or on a temporary basis rather than a permanent one. Short-term experiments are sometimes easier to approve than full-on commitments and policy changes.
5. Prepare for “No”
Sometimes your boss will have to tell you no – even if he does agree with all your points. The work hierarchy, bureaucracy, genuine lack of funds, or other pressing matters needing to take priority first are all legit reasons you may get a no, so don’t take it personally. There are still a few more things you can do.
If you do get a no, it’s ok to (respectfully, not defensively) genuinely ask what it would take to change that, whether or not it’s directly in your boss’s hands. Once you know the reason you can see if there’s anything more you can do – revisit it at a later time after the new budget has gone through? Improve your performance? Try a different angle? Find out the reason and see if there’s a further path you can negotiate together from there to get closer to the Yes you were looking for.
7. Embrace the answer and move forward
Also keep in mind there may be things your boss can’t or doesn’t want to tell you at this time, and you may just not get the whole picture. Do give it your best shot, and be willing to regroup and try something again if he seems interested in working with you but just has his hands tied for some reason or another right now. But don’t force the issue. Sometimes the answer may just be No and you do have to accept that. Thank your boss for his time and consideration, and if you have to, just let the issue go with your professionalism in tact. There’s always another idea and a next time!