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You Have a Brilliant Idea for a New Product or Service. Now What?

November 9, 2014

You love your company. You have an idea that will significantly increase revenue and profitability. Strap on your helmet.

You’ve got a brilliant idea for a new product or service for your company. You’re energized, excited, and ready to execute but you need senior management support and funding. As with any business, first you’ve got to write a business plan for your idea. Senior management and the board will care about four factors that are critical to every new venture:

  • The people. Introduce who will be involved in the start-up period and who will inherit the running of the new business (integrated into existing functions/departments, new staffing model needed, etc.), and any outside parties providing resources.
  • The opportunity. What will you sell – and to whom? How fast do you plan to grow?
  • The context. Capture the big picture – the regulatory environment, demographic trends, and other dynamic factors that you can’t control.
  • The risk and reward. Present an examination of everything that can go wrong and right. Be prepared to explain how your team can respond.

Adapted from 20-Minute Manager: Creating Business Plans.

This exercise has much deeper benefits than just a communication and request for support. It helps you to sort out and prioritize what is needed that you perhaps haven’t considered. It helps you to identify and remove barriers. And it prepares you to address the key decision makers that will have questions.

Keep perspective. Decision makers ask questions. The most scrutinizing executive or board member may seem like a skeptic, pessimistic or even make you feel they don’t like you. Don’t go there. They have a job to do. They like to get behind a winner. Your success in responding to hard questions shows them you have done your homework. That’s what they want to know. They also want to know you aren’t blinded by the greatness of the idea – that you see the risks and have a plan to mitigate those risks.

Let your decisions and actions reveal the next decision and action. In the movie Draft Day, at the NFL Draft, general manager Sonny Weaver (played by Kevin Costner)  has the opportunity to rebuild his team when he trades for the number one pick out of coercion from his boss and coach (subordinate). He must decide what he’s willing to sacrifice on a life-changing day for a few hundred young men with NFL dreams. It is impossible to see the future while you are standing still. Opportunities to make the right decisions and correct mistakes happen only when you are moving forward. Trust yourself to use principles and sound thinking to create success.

At the end of the movie Draft Day, the boss and all the subordinate staff including the coach love general manager Sonny Weaver. He gave them all what they wanted while strategically maneuvering through “their” emotional stuff.  Egos, fears and narrow views kept the drama very high. For many mid-level and senior managers the drama can be overwhelming. Your own stuff can get in the way of your solid principles and sound thinking. It can even drive you to self select to leave the organization or reveal the dark side of your personality (uncontrolled anger). In the movie, Sonny Weaver is tested many times. His coach even resigns on Draft Day. Clear thinking on Weaver’s part kept him from reacting emotionally. That requires something called empathy – a misunderstood soft skill that many leaders lack or under-value.

What we do. The Nielson Group helps leaders and teams understand their own stuff and how the talent dynamics of the team will create success – if they recognize, appreciate and adapt effectively to work through the high stress moments. Leaders need to understand the design of those they rely upon to follow them. Want to eliminate the drama and see greater success? Give us a call. We can help.


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