5 Quick Tips On Presenting Issues To Management

7K0A0835The single Biggest Problem In Communication Is The Illusion That It Has Taken Place.

Quote attributed to Bernard Shaw

When I first started at Procter & Gamble, I was reluctant to involve Management in helping me solve problems. I did not want to be seen as incapable of managing my brands. However, as I became a Manager I began to realize that I had denied myself one of the best tools the Company could offer. Your Manager is emotionally vested in your personal success and wants to help you get unstuck. Not simply because your Manager cares about you personally, but also because failure negatively impacts his/her career.

Here are 5 quick tips based on my experience at P&G that I’d like to pass along to you. I hope you will find them helpful. The world is getting more complex and the problems are getting harder to solve.

Learning how to comfortably and collaboratively present and work through issues with your Manager will make you job easier and will increase your odds for success.

Frame The Issue: You must frame up the key issue you need help dealing with. Don’t distract Management with ancillary issues or symptoms of the problem you are trying to solve. Framing it as an issue will make it easier for your Management to help.

Be Complete: Make sure you provide a full picture. Give a brief background to orient your Management. Provide context. Using a visual like a data table can helpful. Be sure to clarify fact from supposition.

Strategize And Think Through Reasonable Options: Share the options you’ve considered. Include a description of the pros and cons as you’ve thought of them. Invite your Management to add their perspective and ideas for how to address your challenge.

Share Your Recommended Course Of Action: After listening to all the input, propose a course of action to Management. Don’t wait to be told what to do. Make a recommendation and explain why you think it is the right thing to do. Share what you see as the benefits and risks. Ask for alignment and any resources you need for execution. Get agreement on how to keep Management informed of progress.

Present With Passion: Own the problem and the solution. Don’t make Management feel like you are abdicating responsibility. Feel free to ask for their direct help in removing a barrier, getting you access to resources, or providing political cover. Management wants to help you be successful and will typically be willing to be an active part of the solution, but there will still be an expectation that still own the problem.

How You Can Help

Leave a comment and share your experience in leading a Lunch & Learn session in your Organization. Any tips you have on how to even better facilitate a session would be great. In addition, please encourage your site selection consultants contacts to consider writing a few paragraphs for the Voice of Your Customer section of the website. The more customers we get involved, the more useful the feedback will be.

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3 Comments so far

  1. Ron Strauss

    July 14, 2011

    Follow this terrific advice and turbocharge your career.

    I would add one thought to point #4: build into your recommendations measurement tools and reporting tools in terms of what is measured, how often, and a definition of success.

  2. Mark Barbash

    July 15, 2011

    One additional aspect:

    What do you do when you need to bring up an issue with a manager who has never demonstrated an interest in receiving suggestions or a willingness to listen?

    I’ve always found that a little role-playing with a co-worker can help to anticipate questions. This of course requires that you have such a person with whom you can do this, but it can be helpful in working through the issues that could arise in discussion with the manager.

    For a humorous take on this topic, check out the new movie “Horrible Bosses.”

  3. Ray Meiers

    July 19, 2011

    I somewhat agree with Catherine. You should provide at least one possible solution. If you can think of three, your boss might be worried you will soon take his/her job…(just kidding).

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