When you are considering how to position a business idea, who do you imagine is the audience? The normal reaction is your boss. This is both right and wrong. Confusing I know, but let me explain why.
Consider what your boss will do after you pitch your idea. Most likely, he or she will have to consider the impact to their areas of responsibility and then the impact to the broader organization. If the idea could be visible to others or possibly impact something outside of their jurisdiction, they will need to let someone know. Guess who that someone is? Their boss. This should not dissuade you from pitching ideas. To make any change you must have ideas that cause people to think. What it should do is just be a consideration you know going into any meeting. Always think about the 2Up – i.e. the pitch you give to your boss (1Up from you) to give to their boss (2Up from you).
Example of a 1Up pitch to your boss – I want to get $1ooK to change our packaging for product line A. It is a small change and reduce our costs by $0.4o per box. I have already looked at the changes and know there is bandwidth on the design team to make this happen in the next quarter. I would just need to meet with a couple of people on distribution to make sure everything is ok first.
Example of a 2Up pitch to your boss’ boss – By investing $1ooK into a packaging redesign on product line A, we envision a 4% reduction in packaging cost resulting in a $150K savings per year. In addition, we envision other product lines being able to benefit from similar changes producing similar cost savings per year. A conservative estimate for all product lines could put us in range of saving approximately $5ooK per year. Prior to making those changes we would want to ensure product line A revisions are smooth, quality is maintained, and cost reduction is actually realized.
There is a significant difference. The 1Up is very focused on tasks, people, and limited scope. In all actuality, is sounds complicated and doesn’t look like a lot of return to the company. The 2Up is all numbers and the vision of what could be. Focused on what you need to put in, what you think you can get out, and how much more you think you can push it.
Now consider you go to your boss and make the 2Up pitch. What you are looking for is challenging on your assumptions and numbers. Get a dialogue going about the bigger picture and not the smaller details. Instead of it sounding like a lot of work, it sounds like a lot of opportunity and is usually followed by “how soon can we start”.