How to Get The Go-Ahead From Your Boss (19 Tips and More)

With all the big ideas floating around, what's the fastest way to convince your boss? How does one launch a bright idea?

Have you ever had an idea you wanted to sell to your boss but just couldn’t do it?

Have Your Boss Buy into Your Idea

  1. Great ideas are just asking to be green-lighted.
  2. Six questions to ask yourself before making the pitch.
  3. More factors to consider before pitching.
  4. Selling an idea to your boss can be challenging.
  5. Two big hurdles to jump before the pitch.
  6. Vital tips to get your boss on board with your new idea.

With all the big ideas floating around, what’s the fastest way to convince your boss? How does one launch a bright idea?

Selling an idea to your boss and getting approval is not as easy as it sounds. This whole process can be a pain in the neck if you hesitate for too long.

Knowing when you’ve got a killer idea to pitch can be tricky.

Sometimes your boss can give a simple “Yes” or “No”. Other ideas, though, require more persuasion. Not all situations are created equal (and some are more challenging than others).

1.  Great Ideas Are Just Asking to be Green-Lighted by the Boss

Want to know if you have a bright plan for your manager?

Well, first of all, is it going to make or save them money? If so, then you are on to something.

Next, ask yourself: Is this a feasible idea? If your boss has to hire five new people just to implement your new system for organizing office supplies, that’s probably not realistic.

If it’s not feasible, can you make it feasible? In other words, could you do the work yourself? That way, you won’t have to convince your boss why s/he needs more people.

And last but not least: would you want to work with this idea? If the answer is no, then don’t bother pitching it. Your boss can tell when you’re not into something.

2.  Six Questions to Ask Yourself Before Making the Pitch

  1. Does it make sense for my boss to say yes?

If your answer is no, then it’s probably worth doing some more research or brainstorming before you approach your boss with the idea.

  1. How will this help our customers?
  2. What problem does this solve?
  3. Does this make us more money or save us more money?
  4. Does this directly affect my coworkers and me in some way, and how?
  5. Is there a chance for my boss to say no? It’s probably worth exploring this idea further and maybe even writing a formal proposal of how you would make this plan work.

3.  More Factors to Consider Before Pitching

  • It solves a problem: Any company has problems to solve. Does your pitch figure out how to solve one of them?
  • It is original: You don’t want to just replicate something that someone else did (even if you think it’s better). Think of something completely new – it will be more impressive to your boss.
  • It takes into account the skills and talents of your coworkers: If you need something done, but there’s no one in your company with the knowledge or ability to do it, then it might not work.
  • It helps the company grow: Your boss wants the company to grow – that’s why they’re hiring people like you. So, make sure that your idea will help the company expand.

4.  Selling an Idea to Your Boss Can Be Challenging

Oftentimes, if you’re not careful, you can end up talking yourself out of ever getting the idea approved.

One of the most frustrating things when pitching ideas to the boss is getting shot down.

You’re setting yourself up for failure if you just go to the boss with your idea and hope for the best. If that’s what you’re planning to do, rather stay home and spend the day on Facebook.

When you are trying to convince your boss about a new idea, it is important to use a few key tactics and methods. You have to build a business case and use persuasion.

Whether you’re an introvert, extrovert, know-it-all, or a total novice in the workplace, remember that your boss has her/his own motivations and concerns.

Most people don’t take the time to understand their boss’s mindset before pitching. Understanding their perspective can help you get a “yes”.

5.  Two Big Hurdles to Jump Before the Pitch

There are arguably two main hurdles to jump.

  • Firstly, presenting the idea without sounding like you’re trying to take over their role, or getting them to see that your method is much better than what they’ve been doing. This first hurdle is mostly about tone – being respectful but not afraid to speak up. 
  • The second hurdle is all about data and proof – your boss needs to see that whatever you’re proposing has real-world applications that will improve the business.

If you’re a manager, you probably spend a significant part of your day listening to the ideas of your employees. If you’re an employee, you probably spend much time getting your managers’ attention.

The trouble is, there’s so much back-and-forth that no one ends up getting what they want: management isn’t getting the best ideas pitched to them, and employees aren’t getting their ideas heard.

6.  Vital Tips to Get the Boss on Board with Your New Idea


  1. Think about how to get the manager to hear you out. This might be tough because they are busy people.
  2. To get the manager on board with your new idea, approach them when they are in a good mood.
  3. One of the most important things is to highlight the benefits of the idea for your company, so he or she will see why it will be a great addition for everyone.
  4. Often, the answer is a proposal. Writing a proposal helps your manager see and understand what it is you really want to do. It is also a way for you to show them the potential positive impact of your idea as well as how it will be beneficial to the company.
  5. A lot of people begin pitching with an idea and never think any further about how it is going to be received by the person they are pitching to.
    It is a conversation, so it is very important that you figure out when to listen and when to talk.

    The boss will be sizing you up throughout your pitch, so make sure that you are giving the right signals.

  6. Be prepared with data and statistics to back up your idea. If you’re going to convince someone that an idea is worth investing resources into, solid data is key.
    You can also use compelling anecdotes from other companies if you don’t have cold, hard facts about this particular idea yet.
  7. Even when you’ve got a great idea and a good pitch, your boss might not be interested because s/he doesn’t think it’ll make money for the company.
    In this case, you may need some hard numbers on how much money could potentially be made from implementing this new idea into the business model – or even better if there’s an example of another business that’s doing something similar and making huge profits!
  8. Don’t expect them to say yes immediately and be open to compromises and adjustments.
  9. Is this really the right time? Has your boss just finished a stressful project? Are they in the middle of something stressful? If so, it’s probably best to wait until they’re more relaxed – or else they might not hear what you’re saying.
  10. Get the facts straight. You can’t convince anyone of anything if you do not have all the information.
    Make sure that any data or statistics you present are accurate and up-to-date; otherwise, your boss might be able to use that as ammunition against your idea.
  11. When you’re presenting your pitch, speak in a way that’s going to resonate with your boss. If they tend to respond well to humour, try spicing up your pitch with some jokes – but if they tend to respond better to a more serious proposal, make sure to keep things pretty straightforward and professional.
  12. Keep in mind that s/he is a busy person with much on the mind. So, don’t just dump all of your brilliant ideas in one go.
    Propose a few different options and ask which direction you should focus on next.
    That way, you can dig deeper into the most promising option without wasting time on things that aren’t going to pan out.
  13. Foolproof your proposal by reinforcing it with relevant research, if you can. Your idea can become irresistible.
  14. Have a plan. The best way to bring your boss on board is to create a fully realized, actionable plan.
    Think through the steps you’ll need to take to implement your idea, do the research that will prove its viability, and present that research in a manner that shows off your work ethic and problem-solving skills as well as the merits of your plan.
  15. It is vital to show how this new idea dovetails with the company’s mission overall. Be professional, but don’t be afraid to let them see your passion for what you’re proposing.
  16. If you want to propose a project idea to management, it’s important that it’s something you can build on – something that will expand upon or improve an existing project or idea.
  17. List all the stakeholders and how they would be affected by this idea.
  18. Supercharge your pitch to the boss with a two-pronged approach.
    Sell your content, theme-weaved into a compelling story or backed up by credible evidence.
    Unpack the other side of the coin. Highlight the negative consequences of ignoring your rationale. Ground it in the advice of the legendary CEO Jack Welch: “Change, before you have to.”
  19. You will have to figure out how to be persistent without being pushy.

Then… it’s showtime!