Your management team have been used to the ritual of annual appraisals, so you’ll need to be well prepared for this. We’ve all suffered the misery of having a great idea for a project that has been dashed by the lack of enthusiasm of senior management, or by their casual dismissal of our ideas. You need to know your stuff, be well rehearsed and be able to look at your project from their perspective.
You will need to keep your focus on the key aspect of the project that you identified in Step 1. Don’t be tempted to try to sell the whole, ditching appraisals idea in one go, but stick to the key aspect, in the context of issues with the current system. You have some data from the first step; use this data to support your arguments.
You also need to be clear about the purpose of your meeting with the top management. You need an outcome from this meeting, and that outcome is their support for, even their signatures on a project charter. Tell them this up front, so that it doesn’t come as a surprise to them.
The project charter should be a single page document that describes the problem, describes the objectives of the design team, the boundaries and scope of your program, resources and timelines for the project and how you intend to get input from others in the organisation. You also need to record how you’re going to keep them updated with progress from your team. It is best to do this by requesting one of them to sponsor your program. You want this person to be accessible to you, but not to interfere with what you’re doing. You’re asking them to trust you.
You need to leave the room with something concrete. If you haven’t prepared a written copy of the charter, get that back to the management team as soon as possible, for them to agree, and sign off.
Remember, you’re not asking them for permission to change the world.