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Leaders Letter 71 – Pitching The BIG Idea

Dear leaders, this week I am going to tell you about a personal experience that might be a lesson or two to take forward. 

I had a BIG idea, I crafted an aesthetically and numbers perfect 22 slide deck (with a huge FAQ and appendix), the idea was reshaping the business I was on the local leadership team and opening up the business to offer three new services that would have answered more customer problems, enable a global launch and create a bigger impact. 

My Process: I went through the concept with a couple of trusted colleagues and then run through the idea with someone who joined the business in a senior position and joined from a larger business. Their internal influence was high and to introduce them to the business and set them a vision I was crafting, in short – they loved the idea and saw the five-year build I had crafted. 

A couple of weeks later, the idea was relayed to me by one of the finance executives and I asked my opinion as “the consumer expert”.
You can imagine my shock at the exchange and when I pushed how this was pitched, I shouldn’t have been surprised. Some people will treat work like military operations. Part of the war game.
When raising this directly with the person, it didn’t help, the shrug told me everything I needed to know. 

The Companies Idea Not Yours? As I said in one of my early anonymous career advice articles, I answered concerns over a colleague who kept stealing ideas and what to do about them and very often what is best for the company is pushing the idea forward, even if it’s stolen and repackaged as someone else’s.
This isn’t right for the person whose idea was stolen, but, was it right for the company for the idea to be pitched earlier?

FWIW: I am a perfectionist with my own work, I expect a 10/10 from myself and when I pitch I like to have everything ready with FAQ’s ready to go to push the idea forward as quickly as possible, it’s as close to a playbook as it can be. 

Q. Did I sit on it too long? 

Push Ahead When It’s Done Not Perfect? Maybe it’s time to push that big pitch or transformative idea forward and not waiting for the perfect moment, even if the exec team demand more, done is better than perfect, right?  

The working backwards method Amazon use might be a way you reconsider if you’ve touched upon all of the important points and helps you to remove death by PowerPoint (btw I am the king of too many slides). 

This week consider asking yourself if you have the idea and is it ready to pitch or ready enough to pitch? 

Or do you need to wait for the right/perfect moment? 

Thanks and good luck with the week ahead, until next week.

Danny Denhard 

PS. The working backwards method is from the Working Backwards Book: Insights, Stories, and Secrets from Inside by Colin Bryar & Bill Carr

  • The product’s name, 
  • The customer, 
  • The problem this solves, 
  • The benefits for the customer, 
  • A quote explaining why you developed this product and what it will do for the customer, 
  • The (CTA) call to action telling the customer how to take advantage 
  • And importantly the FAQ’s answering the technical and tactical questions

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