At the beginning of the year, our CEO challenged the sales division of our small consulting firm to come up with new ways to expand our reach. I spent the last three months independently researching and verifying an excellent new revenue opportunity. Well, the boss just trashed my proposal. She didn’t even let me explain, she just said it wasn’t what she was hoping for. How can I get her to listen to new ideas if she already knows what she does and doesn’t want? And how can I be expected to read her tiny, closed mind?
–Keshia, Sacramento, CA
Getting your boss to be more receptive can be challenging when she knows what she wants, and you haven’t produced it. The key to dealing with this situation is preventing it from happening in the first place. You can do this by making sure you know what your boss is looking for well before the date of submission. Here are some guidelines: when your boss asks you to prepare a proposal, before you start working on it, write down a summary of what you understand the proposal will cover and submit it your boss. Once that is approved, send a table of contents to your boss describing each section that the proposal will cover, and obtain your boss’s feedback on that. Finally, send drafts of the proposal to your boss for comment and review. These steps will ensure that there are very few surprises in the final proposal that your boss receives.