Friday, November 30, 2007

Risks and Resources

There are two subjects that are likely to receive enormous attention if you are submitting a proposal to a board or governing body: risks and resources.

Questions about the risks are natural. The board/council members will want to know what can blow up and what are the worst possible outcomes if they approve this action. These are people who live with second-guessers. They know that once they approve your idea it becomes their idea. They want to be reassured that you've realistically anticipated potential problems and that your plans to handle such scenarios are solid.

Presenters are often less prepared to address the issue of resources but it is equally important especially if you are asking the board/council to take a controversial course of action. It boils down to this: If they are going to grasp a thorny issue - and catch the ensuing criticism - they only want to do so once. They don't want you to return in 10 months with a sad story about needing additional staff or funding. They seek assurance that by making the big decision, they will have provided you with the resources needed to do all of those great things that your proposal promises. In other words, good news is wanted in 10 months; not a recitation of why things aren't getting done.

There are other subjects, of course, that need to be addressed during a presentation advocating a particular course of action. Those can pose problems but it is likely that they will receive far less attention than risks and resources. Ignore those at your peril.

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