During this past year I have been working with several management groups who have been taking their respective companies through a profound change programme. In two of the businesses there is little past evidence of devolved decision making – one has been led by an owner manager and the other a legacy business operated in ‘command and control’ style from a remote centre. The result is that managers in both businesses were excluded from the planning processes and were rarely required to make any proposals beyond the day to day. We developed this simple, easy to use template for them to implement, and so far with great success and I share it with you.
Making a proposal
Section One: Purpose and decision(s) required
Limit this first section to a single page that outlines the purpose of the proposal and points to the decisions that you wish to be made. Under the heading of ‘purpose’ you can outline the problem that needs to be solved or the overall gain that can be made. Use open questions to display exactly the questions you addressed in making the proposal, list these in chronological order, for example:
What is the issue that we need to address?
How can we gain the benefits?
Who needs to be involved?
What are the cost implications?
What can go wrong?
This page should include a ‘summary of benefits’. This might be a collection of ideas associated with efficiency gains and/or a single financial gain.
Section Two: Your argument for the proposition
A thorough analysis of the problem and the potential solutions, show your workings and be concrete in all the areas that require a strong conclusion.
If others, people or departments, are to be involved then lobby for support beforehand and re-assure the reader that these other people support the proposal. Co-Author where possible
Include financial justifications, data, results of pilot programmes and all associated time frames.
Include the alternative decisions and their merits and why you consider these to be sub-optimal.
Section Three: All references and supporting data and examples.
Use this section to gather up external references and documents, supplier quotations, brochures, references and any other information that you used to make your proposal.
This has proven to be useful and effective and you are welcome to copy it and distribute it. Over to you!