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Goldilocks Rocks

Many articles deal with what is new, what is improved, what solution is best. But how do you decide for your organization?

You have more communication and collaboration choices than ever before and yet sometimes this makes moving forward even more challenging: Cloud, WebRTC, Lync, etc. Eventually you must choose and hopefully you will choose correctly.

I wrote an article almost two years ago entitled "The Goldilocks Approach: 7 Steps to Get to 'Just Right'". While it is often painful to re-read something you have previously written; in this case, I feel my original suggestions on how to decide the "Just Right" are still "right on". The original article was a little lengthy so below I summarize the key points before adding some new tips on presenting these findings to corporate leadership.

In order to choose the best unified communication and collaboration solution for your organization, you should:

1. Define, document and prioritize your business requirements. Focus on measurable objectives (how much, how many, how will we measure success). Write your objectives down using the fewest words possible. If possible, while defining requirements, talk to actual end users, not IT staff.

2. Consider multiple viable solutions including the status quo: "If the other evaluated options do not provide significant business benefit, then doing 'nothing' is a valid leading contender." Make sure the options you consider are based on actual available products. Don't try to consider future product releases. Limit the number of options you consider--ruthlessly exclude options you can rule out based on their inability to meet your business requirements; typically you should consider in detail between 3 and 8 options.

3. List the pros and cons for each viable option. Be transparent. Show your work and document your assumptions. Make sure you understand the limitations of each option: "If you don't know what trade-offs you are making, then you have not done enough analysis and you have not looked at enough options."

4. Attach budgetary costs to each option. These costs don't need to be accurate down to the last cent but they should be within 15%-25%: "In evaluating options we are looking to highlight material differences between the different choices."

5. Make a recommendation. Have the guts to make a decision based on what you have documented. Be like Goldilocks, pick a bed! Brendan Francis one said "Some persons are very decisive when it comes to avoiding decisions." Don't be this person.

After you have done the required work and identified the best option for your organization, you will need to present your findings. (Goldilocks did not need to do this.) To be most successful in securing "buy in," you should:

1. Present your recommendations in a clear, concise manner. Fewer words are better. Slides are better than a document.

2. Start with your recommendations. Make specific directional recommendations. Sometimes with CxOs you only get to present a single slide, so make it count.

3. Follow with your rationale and more detailed proof points that support your conclusion.

4. Ask for approval of your recommendation(s) and if acceptance is not forthcoming, ask if any additional information is required in order to solicit approval.

Goldilocks "rocks" because she entered the bears' house and rapidly decided which bed was best: this one is too hard; this one is too soft; this one is just right. If we could all choose the most relevant communication and collaboration solution as expediently, we would drastically increase our personal success and the success of our organizations.

Are you a fan of Goldilocks or do you prefer another storybook character? Please let me know in the comment section below or via twitter The Goldilocks Approach: 7 Steps to Get to 'Just Right'

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Follow Kevin Kieller on Twitter and Google+!
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