Getting to Yes: A Good Strategic Roadmap is Worth a Thousand Slides

December 10, 2013

The best strategies in the world don’t make a bit of difference if they never get executed. As most people in business have experienced, one of the biggest roadblocks to getting a project done is to get the support (e.g., funding and approval) of senior management.
Over the past several years, Shelby has reviewed dozens of strategic presentations created by enterprise procurement teams for senior leadership. By “strategic,” we mean that the objective of the presentation is to win budget approval or stakeholder support for a proposed procurement initiative.

Often, as part of an engagement, we help clients build their business strategy and provide support in crafting the presentation for senior management review. But that’s not always the case. We have also been engaged to help determine what went wrong for projects that failed to get approval. As a result, we have developed a body of knowledge for getting to “yes” on various types of procurement transformation initiatives.

What Works?

If you are getting ready for a strategic presentation, here are a few tips that could improve your chances for success.

1. Define the problem: Many presentations do a great job of outlining the content and details of an initiative. However, there will most likely be differences in opinion among key stakeholders on the problems that exist, the impacts of those problems, and the roadblocks prohibiting transformation. Don’t present the proposed solution until you have socialized and gained consensus on the problem. Be sure to clearly define the business problem—brevity and clarity are key.
2. Define your solution: Once you have a consensus on the problem, hone in on the solution you are proposing. Don’t make the mistake of trying to educate your audience on all of the various components, processes, and technologies that will comprise your solution. Also, consider the top enterprise goals and strategies and how your initiative relates to other projects within the organization.
3. Quantify business impact: Estimate impacts in terms of investment, savings, and projected ROI. Don’t be afraid to make certain assumptions—be prepared to provide details and the rationale that support the assumptions. And, most importantly, don’t ask for an investment in a program without quantifying the projected benefits!
4. Create 2 Slides That Tell The Story: While you may choose to have several detailed slides in your presentation, you should be able to tell the entire story in just two slides. Provided here is one version:

In your first slide, describe the business problem and solution in 12 words or less and enter estimated costs, savings, and ROI.

For your Strategic Roadmap slide, name each of your phases and place them on the timeline along with brief descriptions of the activities in each phase.

Contact us at
David Nakai
Manager, Solutions Engineer
The Shelby Group