Sunday, October 21, 2012

How to brief a senior officer


Very good advice on how to talk to senior officers.

A snippet:

The first step is giving the boss the big picture. In a couple of sentences, try to outline the basics of the situation and the problem you seek to solve or the creative idea you are pushing.

Next, offer an assessment that lays out the key facts the decision-maker needs. Put yourself in the shoes of the decision maker and tailor the background info to what he or she doesn't already know. You'll need to state your assumptions up front as well.

Third step – and the key, of course – is articulating what you propose. Make this simple, creative, and sensible. Think through and discuss second order effects. Mention how your idea will play with the ‘customers' the boss reports to as appropriate. Address the challenges – especially the resources required -- in a realistic way.

Be honest and clear-eyed, not an impassioned advocate for a pet theory or project. Give both sides of the argument and anticipate objections. You need to be able to walk through the plan in such a way as to make it understandable.