How To Get Internal Support To Improve Operations

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Chase Gilbert
PUBLISHED: 02/23/2017

Chris Boyd, one of our Product Managers at Built, has some great ideas that can help you get internal support for pushing initiatives forward. 

We all have ideas on how to improve the businesses we work in, but translating those ideas to others or getting buy-in is often easier said than done. After all, change is hard for many people to accept. Here is the methodology we use at Built that can be used in any business.

Start with the Problem First

By Chris Boyd, Product ManagerChrisBoyd.png

You know what the solution is. You see it in your head as clear as day and now you just have to figure out how to communicate the solution to everyone who will have to bring it to life. You bleed all over the whiteboard, break out charts and graphs, and build a deck – you just want everyone to understand how clear and simple it is to see the solution through to completion. Multiple meetings, dozens of actions items, and hundreds of conversations transpire, and yet you still find yourself educating people on why your solution is THE solution. They just “aren’t getting it.”

This same process plays out over and over again in the business world every single day, in departments ranging from technology to finance to HR. And it makes sense. We are wired to take the information and perspective that we have and use it to come up with the best possible solution to the problems we’re facing. The common arguments for this approach:

  1. I have the most relevant information and have thought this through.
  2. It’s my responsibility to address this problem, so I have to come up with the solution.
  3. I don’t have time to get other people involved.

The fatal flaw in each of the justifications above? They’re wrong. I’m not necessarily saying that your solution is wrong, but there’s a pretty good chance it’s not the best solution. The simple reason? You didn’t start with the problem.

The problem is what got you into this mess in the first place. It’s the fact that you aren’t obtaining clients quickly enough, there’s an increasing number of accidents in the workplace, or costs are cutting into profit margin. There’s a problem, long before there’s a solution.

The wonderful thing about a problem is that it’s usually pretty easy to define.

  • Who is this a problem for?
  • Why is it important?
  • What are some ways we can measure the success of a solution?

Along with answering the questions above, I highly recommend drafting a Problem Statement. Here’s an example that led to a recent enhancement of our Lines of Credit and upcoming Guidance Line Management functionality:

Problem Statement: Lenders use disparate spreadsheets to manage lines of credit, and associated risk management limitations, that they have extended to homebuilders. Those homebuilders then have to manage their own spreadsheet or request a copy from their lender to know where they stand.

By starting with the problem and inviting people into ensuring it’s clear, you’ve now empowered those individuals to contribute their unique perspectives and experience. I have yet to go through this exercise without it triggering numerous questions I couldn’t answer or scenarios I hadn’t considered. The result? A better solution.

Added bonus: If those individuals involved in clarifying the problem are responsible for bringing the solution to life, they now have a greater degree of buy-in and actually depend on you less to articulate the “correct” solution over and over again.

As simple as it sounds, try asking this question at your next meeting: What is the exact problem we are trying to solve.

In my role as a Product Manager at Built, it’s the most important thing I want to understand in every conversation with a client or prospect. Because if I understand the problem you’re facing, someone at Built will come up with a solution and we won’t be able to contain our excitement when we show it to you.