How to win boardroom battles

Published: October 16, 2010
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Do you have a big presentation coming up? Try something new this time.

There are two ways to sell a solution.

The first is the one we’re trained at school with. Do your homework. Learn facts. Test a hypothesis. Come to a conclusion. Create a data set to prove that the proposed solution is logically deducted and scientifically designed to work.

You spend ten days finding out everything you need to know about a problem and summarize it on to a piece of paper that suggests a solution based on that data. You show said piece of paper to the other person. Here’s the suggestion, and here’s proof that it’ll work.

But there’s another way, and this route they deliberately avoid in academic settings.

It is the route of insight mining. Just put yourselves in the shoes of whoever needs this solution. What does s/he want? You’re not in search of proof if you go by this path. You’re in search of a big idea. An idea that can bowl you over, light a bulb on top of your head, and make you jump off the chair and shout “A-ha!.”

If it makes the client smile and brings a spark of excitement to their eyes, you’ve got it.

The big idea is not easy. There’s no process that can guarantee you’ll get there, no set path as there is in the case of the more scientific model.

Worse still, there’s a greater risk involved.

Something that resonates with you might not have the same effect on whoever you’re selling the idea to. But if you manage to pull it off just right and latch onto that little something that strikes a chord deep within, you’ve won your game. All the world’s research will not be able to convince your prospect to try anything else.

umair.kazi

Umair Kazi

A strategist who blogs at www.theideaartist.com

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.