Presenting great ideas to the boss
Leadership,  Strategy


Presenting great ideas to your boss can be very tricky particularly if it’s your first time or you just joined a new organisation and you are still studying their culture. If you have got such great ideas, what is it worth keeping it with you? Nothing. It could be an idea that saves the company a ton of money, an app that could speed up a process, or improve a product. The one big question you are asking yourself is “how do I go about it?” 


First things first, identify the issues that are giving your boss sleepless nights. I would say no more than 3 priority areas. Imagine his/her top priorities include saving more money in the new financial year and you have got an idea that addresses just that. BANG! Then you can start working backwards from there.  


I have heard several employees say that their boss’s ignore their great ideas. I suspect majority of it is because of poor presentation with little or no facts backing the great idea. One thing you should realise is that bosses, particularly successful ones are strong on their gut feeling which makes it seem like they are proud. Another reason may be your boss’s ego. Yes! Most bosses do have ego. That is why you should find time to establish trust such that he does not see it as a brilliant idea coming from a subordinate trying to shine brighter than the boss. If you have not built a track record to establishing trust, start now because that great idea will come to you before you know it. 

How can you do this? Refer to some of your boss’s previous statements and link it with the idea. Like “Boss, since you mentioned that cost savings was a major priority, I went ahead to do some findings about….” Use every interaction to build trust. Never hesitate to share a compliment and express gratitude for every time they approve a document from you. 


I cannot emphasize this enough. You may be thinking, it is my idea, and I should take credit for it. Why should the boss be taking credit for the work I have done? This is a bad idea. In fact, this is your ego speaking and you need to reign it in. A friend has shared with me how she would usually mention an idea only during meetings. And she wonders why her boss completely disregards her ideas and looks the other way.

There is the concept of “the meeting before the meeting.” It is when you approach your boss privately to discuss your idea and get his approval to share it in the meeting. While presenting, your boss could even help you improve on your idea and that makes him/her more comfortable because they see themselves as being part of the idea. You could even offer to share with him a summary so he/she can go ahead with the presentation. That way, they start to trust you which paves the way for more good things to come.  


In the book of Genesis 41 in the bible, Joseph a prisoner was summoned by the Pharaoh of Egypt to attempt to interpret his dream. Guess what? He did not just interpret the dream; he also produced an execution plan. Before you dash to your boss’s office, have you identified the major priorities? Do you have an execution plan as well? No boss will approve a suggestion that cannot be implemented no matter how brilliant it sounds.  

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