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how to bring great solutions and ideas to a manager who doesn't want them

How to Convince Your Boss You Have a Great Solution

by | Jul 23, 2020 | By Karin Hurt, Winning Well |

Convince Your Boss You Have a Great Solution

You see a problem and you have a great solution. But, no one asked you for your opinion. You are tempted to convince your boss that your solution is a good one, but it’s tricky.

If you’re like many of the employees in our Courageous Cultures research, you might be a bit nervous about speaking up, particularly if your boss wasn’t so receptive last time.

It’s tempting to assume that everyone else sees the issue. Or that the solution is obvious. But people are busy. And it’s quite possible your great solution hasn’t occurred to them.

First, Vet your I.D.E.A.

If you want to convince your boss you have a great solution start by ensuring you’ve thought it through.  Our I.D.E.A. model is an easy and practical way to vet and strengthen your solution by asking four key questions.

Encourage idea sharingI- Why is This Idea Interesting

Why is this idea interesting? What strategic problem does it solve? How will results improve from this idea (e.g. customer experience, employee retention, efficiency)?

D- Is this Idea Doable

Is this idea something we could actually do? How would we make it happen? What would make it easier or more difficult?

E- How Can I Make It most Engaging

Who would we need to engage to make this happen? Why should they support it? Where are we most likely to meet resistance?

A- What are the Most Important First Actions (Next Steps)

What are the most important actions needed to try this? How would we start?

And Then, Make the Case For Your Great Solution

We often find when employees are frustrated that their great solution is not being heard, it’s because they could use a little help making the case.

Here’s a simple technique we use in our I.D.E.A. Inspiration rallies and fishbowl competitions to help people share their best solutions and great ideas.

C- Consider

What do you want your boss (or another stakeholder) to think, do, or say as a result of your conversation? One of the things I often noticed in my executive roles at Verizon is that employees would often come to me with ideas, but wouldn’t have “an ask.”

“And here’s how you can help” or “Here’s the support I need from you” makes it easy for your boss to respond.

A- Articulate

Before you go into the conversation, write down your top three ideas. Once the conversation gets going it’s so easy to forget your main strategic points. This will prevent the frustration of leaving the room and thinking, “AGGHHH I forgot to share one of my best selling points for this idea!”


When you want to convince your boss you have a great solution, make sure you’ve done your homework.  Find supporting evidence as to why your solution is important and doable. Consider the counter-arguments. Look for data and evidence that support your great solution. Find examples of where your solution is working elsewhere.


Engage other people who also think you have a great solution. Why would Joe in Finance support your idea? How about Laura in IT? Ask for their input to help sharpen your argument and build a stronger case. Sometimes hearing an idea from multiple perspectives is exactly what’s needed to get people’s attention.

great solution to a manager who doesn't want it - how do I present my idea

Your turn

What’s your best practice to help convince your boss you have a great solution or idea?


Karin Hurt

Karin Hurt helps human-centered leaders find clarity in uncertainty, drive innovation, and achieve breakthrough results.  She’s the founder and CEO of Let’s Grow Leaders, an international leadership development and training firm known for practical tools and leadership development programs that stick. She’s the award-winning author of four books including Courageous Cultures: How to Build Teams of Micro-Innovators, Problem Solvers, and Customer Advocates and Winning Well: A Manager’s Guide to Getting Results-Without Losing Your Soul and a hosts the popular Asking For a Friend Vlog on LinkedIn. A former Verizon Wireless executive, Karin was named to Inc. Magazine’s list of great leadership speakers. Karin and her husband and business partner, David Dye, are committed to their philanthropic initiative, Winning Wells – building clean water wells for the people of Cambodia.

1 Comment

  1. Madhavi Anantatmula

    Great advice! CASE approach could be applied to any discussion for a productive, value add conversation. This approach not only increases ones creditability in front of supervisors but also in amongst peers as the act of validation of the solution helps build a collaboration, trust.

    – Regards, Madhavi


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