My newest book is filled with shortcuts and workarounds. I’ve spent years researching how work really gets done (as opposed to how it’s supposed to work.) Here’s the Best Practice Shortcut on getting the budget you need:
- Do NOT focus on money. It’s the very last thing you should discuss.
Do focus on the senior team’s headaches. Find out what’s keeping them awake at night. (FUD is a biggie for many execs: Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt)
- Package your need for money to perfectly match the senior exec’s very personal concerns.
- Your first budget meeting with the Poobah should last no more than 15 minutes. Make your pitch, but also make a favorable impression. The shorter the better. No handouts! Just you, and the key message.
- Closing your pitch: DO NOT ask for money! Ask for another meeting. Research-Backed: We have found that if you are invited back for another meeting, you should have an 80% to 90% success rate in getting all or much of the budget you are requesting, because your Poobah helped initiate and shape the request.
For More: See Chapter 23.
OK. So why do those four steps work? To some, they may seem manipulative and cynical — like the only way to get budgets approved is to out-maneuver senior execs. Not at all! The four steps are actually based on proven human history.
Throughout humankind’s history, in most of the world, budget setting has NEVER been about money or strategy. Setting budgets is about power, control, personalities, dreams, fantasies, revenge, pettiness, greed, caring, altruism, tithing, perception, sharing, fun, vision, aspirations, discrimination, conflict, bartering, compromise, paybacks, payoffs, partnerships, and friendships — to name a few.
Like work, budgets are personal. Even great business leaders with endless amounts of integrity cannot rewrite the law that says that budgets are, and always will be, personal. Jensen Group research has shown that the people who get the most money know this.