Three Guidelines for Building Winning Strategy and Organization Deliverables
-They are almost always “political” by nature (people tend to see aspects of the strategy as a threat or challenge to their area of responsibility)
-They usually involve a change to the organization (which few people enjoy enduring)
-They often accompany a request for funding (nobody likes asking for money or having to “sell” their strategy)
-They require some form of visioning and/or prediction about the future (a natural setup for skeptics and naysayers)
While there isn’t one trick for effectively building these types of deliverables, there are a few guidelines that you should find helpful.
- Follow the money. If your presentation involves any form of budget request or approval, make sure this is the centerpiece of your presentation. Invariably you will be required to justify why you are spending the money you want to spend and you better be prepared. Organize the whole presentation to effectively answer this one question. I know this sounds harsh and narrow minded, but it really works. When you focus on the money and build out from there, everything gets easier.
- Start with cold, dispassionate facts. In the build up to the budget request, you will present a situation, strategy or project of some sort that merits the budget request or approval. As you present these sections make sure to start with the facts. Often, I find that because the presenter knows their area or issues so well, they jump directly into analysis and recommendations before presenting the basic facts of the situation. To senior executives this comes across as editorializing and opinion presentation. First they want cold, hard, dispassionate facts. Then, they are prepared to listen to your analysis of the facts and the conclusions you have drawn.
- Do “Nemawashi”. That’s the Japanese term for building consensus in advance of a decision point. Simply put, you don’t go into a major strategy or organization change presentation without first testing out your presentation on the key stakeholders affected by and associated with the issues about which you are speaking. Usually that means not only doing a pre-presentation, presentation but making sure to leave room to incorporate their ideas and feedback for the “big day”. It’s a lot easier “getting to yes” when people see not just your ideas in lights but theirs as well.