Sell your Boss – Some Tech Observations

Saw this great post from Hyatt (referred from this blog, definitely worth syndicating) re: how to get decisions / results out of your manager / boss. Great stuff, pay attention to the details here, all of it is right on. A few additions I’d make to the list …

  1. Keep it short – just like you, your boss is juggling multiple priorities, especially when you’re reporting to a C-level person. If you can’t develop and present an elevator pitch version of the story, you risk losing their attention span. It’s not that they are dumb – far from it. More like their mind is completely in another place, and you are asking them to take a sharp 180.
  2. Relate Projects / Requests to Corporate Objectives – tied to item #1 in Hyatt’s article, but be very specific. Why do they care about barcode printers? Because it’s the only way they can deliver on the Quality Improvement promise they made to the Board!
  3. Order of Bullet Points is key – which approach is more effective?
  • We need barcode printers, so we can print labels and bounce-back cards, so we can gather information and write reports, so we can quantify quality issues, something the Board has been promised.
  • The board expects Quality metrics. We have no ability to gather these metrics, so we need to implement this new process. To complete the effort, barcode printers must be purchased.

Believe me, the second one works better because you are telling them why they care, right up front.

  1. Focus on Business: I’ve had a range of managers over the years, and while they have all been at varying levels of technical skill, it’s always most interesting to try and have technical discussions with the non-technical managers. They usually don’t appreciate the technical nuances .. because they rarely matter. Must focus on the business benefot, not the technical fine points.
  2. Skip Cliches: Tight budgets got you down? Please know that all of your peers, all of your competition for budget, most likely will be feeling the same pain. Key is to steer clear of the “gotta spend money to make money” pitch – you are talking down to them, over-simplifying the budget process that they have painfully gone through.
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James MacLennan

... is the Managing Partner at Maker Turtle LLC, a digital consultancy focused on creating value in ways that align with your strategy and drive engagement with employees, customers, and stakeholders. He is an active creator, providing thought leadership through on-line & print publications, and public speaking / keynotes.