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The Guide: My boss and I have differing views on the best strategy to advance our objectives

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Dear Guide: My boss and I have different views on the best strategy to advance our objectives. I’m proposing a new approach that will add cost, but I believe it will deliver greater revenue. He sees it as a cash flow black hole. I believe I’m right and that his views are outdated and holding back both the organisation and us as individual sales people. How do I address this?

– Stymied by the Boss

Stymied by the Boss: Maximising our impact requires developing upward influence and navigating disagreement with our colleagues.

The best starting point for situations like this is – as preached by Stephen Covey – to first seek to understand the other person’s position.

We often fall into the trap of immediately trying to convince the other person why we’re right (and they’re wrong).

Instead, lead with curiosity and thoroughly explore your boss’s reservations.

Questions you could ask include:

  • What risks do you see with the new approach?
  • What makes you think it won’t work?
  • Have you tried something like this before? How did it go?
  • What would you need to believe to be true about the new approach to give it a go?

Once you’ve understood their position, you might embrace their logic and agree that the current approach is the best one.

Or you will better understand how to address their concerns through your solution (perhaps with modification, based on your learnings).

If it’s the latter, you can then seek to persuade your boss using your enhanced knowledge of the problem and the solution.

Or you could propose an experiment to determine the superior approach. For example, allocate a portion of the money you’d otherwise like to spend to testing your beliefs.

If your boss – for whatever rational or irrational reason – decides to stick with the current approach, you are left with two choices. You can either:

  1. Accept their decision and – having had your say – commit wholeheartedly to implementing it
  2. Quit

The first option can be hard. But the second will be harder.

Because – at the end of the day – it’s the boss’s job to make decisions and move the team forward. It’s their prerogative to make decisions that you might consider wrong. And they will be judged on the quality of their decisions over time.

Thoughts? If you would like to share a response to today’s dilemma with the Guide and other readers, add a comment below.

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This information is provided as general advice only and is not a substitute for obtaining professional advice. Impact Society does not accept liability for any action taken based on the information presented here or for any loss suffered as a result of reliance on it.