Tap into your super powers #1 – What to do when you keep getting told No

In this blog post your key learning topic is : how to get a yes for an increase in funding for your project.  The key takeaway is: create a compelling WHY to motivate a change of mind.

Do you have find your best ideas always get a no?

Do you find it hard to get endorsement for changes to scope, estimates, cost or resource hires?

If yes, then this post will provide you with:

  • learning prompts
  • case study example of going from a NO to a YES
  • ideas on what steps to take to next

Learning Prompts

To get a senior stakeholder to say yes (especially to anything involving a change in cost) you need to create a create a compelling why. A compelling WHY creates the motivation for someone to change their mind.

Ask yourself:

  • What is the biggest problem facing my stakeholder?
  • How does my idea help with this?
  • Can my idea help solve my stakeholder’s problem in someway?
  • What would it mean for this problem to be solved?  Who else will benefit? How will it improve the business outcome (profit, strategy, financial, marketing, reputation etc) ?
  • Is my idea aligned to business strategy?
  • Has my idea been tried before?  What happened?
  • Are there quality reasons for pursuing something that has failed before?
  • What does this idea add or take away from my current role?

 

Case Study

In one Test Manager role I was in a few years ago, I had inherited an estimate that could be at best described as ‘optimistic’ and at worse ‘crazy’.

I decided to ask not for the 23 days (which had been approved) estimated but instead ask for approval of a 288 day estimate.

The Delivery Manager’s response: “You’d have to get the CIO to approve that’

My response: “Ok, I will get that!’

And… I did.

How?

  1. I researched what had happened in the past (the project had been tried and failed 3 times over 10 years due to a lack of or poor testing)
  2. I researched what a poor quality delivery would actually mean when implemented in production. The impact I found was : catastrophic business failure, regulatory breaches and huge (newspaper story worthy) customer financial loss
  3. I put a 3 page slide pack together with 3-4 bullet point per slide which succinctly stated option, risk, cost and recommendation (yes/no)
  4. I got the business sponsor to publicly back the best estimate to his General Manager  (this took some time to influence)
  5. I then presented the options paper to the steering committee which consisted of the CIO and the CEO’s direct reports
  6. And, the CIO approved the new estimate – in fact the whole committee did

How did I ‘win’ the argument?

I pitched every risk with a direct (yet implied) statement which if that risk came true would directly lead to the CIO losing his job. 

Because the risk that poor quality would create in a production environment was so great to the company, any realisation of this risk would mean business failure (or close too) and that would mean no more jobs for the CIO or the other members of the committee.

 

Extra context

For some context, I have 10 years deep technical estimation experience and I had the most experienced person on the programme run the numbers.  I knew the estimate was right.

I also knew to pursue the other estimate would lead to project failure or even (if the project actually got into production) potentially business failure. I had 100% faith in myself and my team that we were the best people to deliver this work and I had 100% belief that I could get the CIO’s approval with a fair argument for the new estimate.

 

Take Action

Next time you get a No, ask yourself – do I 100% believe in my proposal? And if the answer is yes, then ask the person who said No:

“What would need to happen to get a YES?”  

And then?

GO FOR IT!

Would you like to work more on developing this skill set?

Do you have career goals to work on that you would like support and coaching in?

Have you thought of getting your own career coach to help you take the next step in your career?

If yes, then find out more about the Tap into Your Power coaching series. 

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Goal Setting Secret #3 Taking Action

Secret #3 – Keys to successfully taking action

How often do you say this:

“I keep going no matter what!”

Secrets to successfully taking action

1. Schedule it
2. Allow enough time for each action
3. Get Support
4. Keep it super positive.

Pro tip: Use your project management and organisational powers that you use everyday at work and apply them to your personal goals and projects.

  1. Schedule in time each week to work exclusively on your goal and actions
  2. Book in enough time to one action done at a time
  3. Use tools like a spreadsheet or project management tool like ASANA to prioritise your actions and work through them in a logical order
  4. Get Support – find a career coach to support you, find an accountability partner to check-in with weekly,join a mastermind or find a mentor. Get the right level of support for the goal you are progressing with to help create your own cheersquad that is always on your side and keeping you accountable to getting those actions done.
  5. Keep it super positive.Celebrate small wins and surround yourself with positive inspiration.
    • What is the first thing you see or hear in the morning?
    • What is the first thing you see when you walk in the door?
    • What is the first thing you do when you get to your desk?

Create a routine that incorporates positivity from podcasts to the music you listen to, the art work at your home, the inspirational quote on a sticky-note at your desk or the gratitude journal you write in every morning.  Find little ways to shift and support your mood and keep you in the best frame of mind to achieving your goal.

Want more on goal setting, watch this Facebook live to get more thoughts on how to progress your goal and close out those actions.

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Goal Setting Secret #2 – Know How To Take Action

Secret #2 How to Get What You Want

1. Ask for advice  

Emulate, look around you at work and in your life, and look to find people that are just getting stuff done. 

Take inspiration and copy how they’re going about getting what they want done.

Ask for their advice.

Apply that advice to how you go about getting goals and actions done.  

2.  Test

Test out lots of different approaches until you find something that works for you. 

If you want to start studying again, test out studying on a small course and work out what kind of schedule you need if you’re going to combine full-time work with part-time study. 

This is something I have done – I found ways to use lunch times really efficiently. Even 20 minutes can be used effectively if you plan it out well.  (I also sometimes do work at 4:00am in the morning because for me that’s when inspiration strikes – scarily!).

Start off with something small and then work to level up as your skills and confidence grows. 

Try not to overwhelming yourself with a full-time course straight off.  

3. Experts

Find experts in what you want and get their advice. 

Listen to some really good podcasts to get inspiration (I’m a podcast junkie and can recommend Marie Forleo, The Good Life Project, Melissa Ambrosini, Tony Robbins, Becoming Fearless, For the Love of Money, The Amber Lilyestom Show, The Priestess Podcast.)

It could be going to workshops (like my goal setting workshop in May – hint!) or it could be going to meetups, networking events or organising your own. 

Find people that you value what they have to say and who have the wisdom and experience to share and learn from.

4. Plan it

Make the time to plan out what you want and create space and time to practice getting it. I guess this is an expectation-setting thing as well. If you’re someone that has got out of practice of getting what you want done, then you’ve got to practice. And it’s going to be a bit crap for a while, because you’re not going to be very good at it. So it’s really about understanding that you’re in that practice/learning phase and not to be too focused on doing things perfectly.

You don’t need to be awesome and an expert at this stage because you can grow into that, right? 

5. Create a Learning Log

The other thing is, what I really like doing is when I’m really struggling with something I keep my own kind of learnings log. I did this particularly when I started doing a lot more networking which I found a little bit challenging at times, because it was a very full-on extroverted thing to do. Although I love people after a full day of work I actually just found big networking events a bit overwhelming (sooo manny people!!).  

I created a roster of events, and then I’d take down notes on which ones I really enjoyed and got a lot of energy from, events that I didn’t, events that really helped me from a career perspective, and one’s where I met people that I loved being with. Then, I could really focus my time and energy on the networking events that I knew I really enjoyed. 

I kept those notes because those events could become a bit of a blur.  You don’t have to making some big life decision or change to take deliverable and careful action like keeping a log. 

You can use this for something where you want to tweak or change something. 

By taking notes and taking deliberate action and practicing, you’ll embed these changes more quickly and easily.  

Final bit of advice

If I chose only one of these things to do it is  to get advice from the people around you. There’s nothing like saying to people, “Hey, I’m trying to do this, what do you think?.” 

I did this a lot last year. I was like, “I’m going to write a book, help!.” And so the people around me really supported me in writing that book. They gave me advice. They lined up interviews, they let me take extra time off work. It felt like my people were on the journey with me. So don’t think that you just have to present yourself as some perfectly done, formed, “Hey I’m an author now.”  Let the people around you go on the journey with you and let them help you.  Be open to receiving that help and remember to say YES even if its not ‘perfect’ help. 

I have a goal-setting workshop coming up in May, so would love you to be there. It’s a live event, and it’s for up to five women (there are 4 spots left). It’s being held at St. Martin’s Café in Brighton. I really encourage you to join in if you’re in the area as it would be so lovely to meet you and hear your story.  

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