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How to get the Board to approve your proposal

Aaron Kumove | June 30, 2015
...And what to do if it fails to get the green light, writes Aaron Kumove, in part two of his column on ‘getting IT project governance right'.

I have also seen instances where a great idea argued well did not get approved because it was just too big of a stretch for a board to get its head around conceptually or the board was just unwilling to accept the scenario being painted. It hurts when you know that you have your hands on a winner that doesn't get approved, especially when you are subsequently proven right, but timing can be everything. Disruptive innovation can be hard to sell. Being a little bit ahead of the curve is good. Being too far ahead might not be. In short, pick your time.

Fifth, be prepared to be challenged. That's a Board's job. Don't take it personally. Put yourself in their shoes and try to envision the likely questions that an unfamiliar party might ask of your presentation. Prepare answers to those questions in advance. If you don't have answers, say so, but also explain how you will go about determining them or mitigating the risks implied be the questions. A good response that shows how you will manage what you don't yet know can sometimes be enough to get you conditional or limited approval with full approval to follow subject to conditions being met.

Finally, sometimes no matter how good a job you do, your proposal might not get approved for reasons that you are not completely aware of. Those reasons might be commercial, political, or something else that the board has a wider view of than you do. If you are turned down, ask for feedback, not only on your proposal but on the wider contextual issues which might lead to you having another chance to come back at a later time. © Aaron Kumove 2015


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