Overcoming the sceptics

20 February 2023 Stuart McDougall

Senior executives are often risk averse, I thought I would share some of my tips to convert sceptics.

Ideation on your insights and opportunities has uncovered a brilliant idea, and now you need the business to buy in.

I try to anticipate the concerns of the execs and have answers ready that are based on evidence. Here are some typical criticisms I encounter and how I respond:

“This vision for your idea is overwhelming.”

I prove we can deliver impact on day one. I clearly define the problem we are solving and the solution we are proposing. I make sure that the solution addresses the problem directly and is feasible. Low-hanging fruit is an easy way to get a return quickly and we can also phase the implementation and the costs.

“The proposal is too expensive.”

I illustrate the larger market opportunity by showing the results of the research and testing we performed. Identify the growth potential of the idea or product. This can include analyzing the size of the total potential market, revenue streams, and opportunities for expansion.

“We need time to decide on the proposal.”

I show the potential costs of waiting. This may include lost revenue, decreased productivity, increased expenses, or missed opportunities. I sometimes also include estimates on how the costs of waiting will increase over time, considering factors such as inflation, changing market conditions, and increased competition.

A lot of work has been done getting to the point of needing to convince the executives, being prepared is vital, otherwise you may find the idea remains just that, an idea.