Are you asking for enough when asking for business sources?
Today’s post is a phenomenon that I have observed over the years that I haven’t seen mentioned in other blogs. Employees are wrong when they ask for company resources. It’s a bad attitude and it sets us up for failure. Typically, this type of request comes from someone early in their career or from people who have not reached senior management. Senior managers were promoted because they mastered the art of asking for resources. They ask for the right amount in their initial request AND have a clear plan for how those company resources are going to be used.
Let’s say you’re working on a project that requires $ 10,000.00, 5,000 widgets, or 80 hours of viewing time.
What I’ve seen time and time again is people asking for $ 5,000.00, 3000 widgets, or 60 hours. In all 3 cases, the initial demand is less than what is estimated to achieve the goal and there is little data to back up HOW the resources are going to be used.
Reasons we ask for less
- The mistaken assumption that the business CANNOT afford to save the necessary resources
- Fear that asking for the full amount will make us appear weak, less competent, or that we will not “calculate the numbers well”
- We think $ 10,000 is too much money because as individuals $ 10,000 is a lot for Benjamin. We treat the request as if it came from our manager’s personal bank account.
The basis of the hypotheses
If a project requires 5,000 widgets to complete and we only request 3,000 widgets, we prepare for failure before we begin. If we don’t start with the necessary business resources, we won’t cross the finish line. Unless the person who is going to approve the resources has previous experience with our project, that person doesn’t know what the project actually requires. With this approval, they expect the project to be completed on time and run flawlessly.
Some readers think, “If I ask for the 5,000 widgets, I will only get 4,000. My manager always puts me down.”
When you claim the full 5,000 widgets, you’ve set yourself up for success. Because we asked what is needed to be successful, the success or failure of the project will not depend on our initial demand for resources.
If we get the discount rate of 4000 widgets, scale the project down and start with a proof of concept. Prove that your idea works on a smaller scale. As the project turns out to be a success with sufficient ROI, we should have more widgets. The key word is “ENOUGH” ROI.
“I told you, assholes.”
If we know that a project requires 80 hours of work and we are budgeting and asking for only 60 hours, we are essentially hiding the truth from the company. We should not assume that the company is going to make the wrong decision and only give us 60 of the 80 hours requested. Employees should avoid pitching a business resource pitch with this mindset. We need to provide full disclosure to the company about the resources needed. If all employees have bypassed their requests to finance, then their budget projections will be far behind. And when we found out we really needed 5,000 widgets. . . I don’t approve of that, but you will have the option of saying “I told you”.
Example of dating required:
Let’s say we’re going to make a prom date in 2 months. The required budget is $ 150.00 for dinner, $ 100.00 for a tuxedo and $ 100.00 for a limo. The total budget is $ 350.00 for the day before tips and miscellaneous expenses like a bodice.
If we go to our parents and say “I need 350.00 for a date”, our parents have no idea why a date would cost $ 350.00. We receive a brief “No”. We retreat to our bedrooms with the feeling that our parents hate us and that our lives are about to end.
In an effort to counter the above scenario, the classic move is to make an initial request for $ 200.00 from my parents. The reasoning is that $ 350.00 sounds like too much money for one date. Two hundred dollars still seems like too much for one date, but it sounds better than the 3 Benjamins and an Ulysses S Grant.
A month later, I realize that time is running out and that I need two more friends. But in fear of confronting my parents, I only ask for $ 100.00. My parents ask me to budget better next time and, frustrated with my lack of accounting skills, fork out the $ 100.00. Emotionally relieved, I breathe a sigh of relief. I hit half of my goal, but I still have $ 50.00 short.
I created my own panic situation
A week before the ball, I panic. I know I’m missing at least $ 50 and haven’t thought about tips or a blouse. In front of the music, I go to the parents once again and ask them for the last $ 50.00. I am receiving a long-term conference. My dad takes a look at my mom, telling her what a stupid son she raised. After a dinner eaten in awkward silence and no one appreciating dessert, I head to my room. Later that evening, Mom arrives with her purse and takes out a cent from her wallet. She winks and whispers “Don’t tell your dad, here’s another $ 100.00 so you won’t come back to see us.” It saves me a lecture. Have fun.”
Moral of the story:
A budget request of $ 350.00 is no more unreasonable than a request for $ 200.00 for a single date. It will make more sense to back up demand with business logic and costs. “It’s prom night and there is an additional expense to that date.”
Breaking down the initial request and explaining how the funds will be used will go a long way.
“Mom and Dad, I’m going to prom this fall and will need help with the expenses. I’m looking for $ 150.00 for dinner, $ 100.00 for a tuxedo, and $ 100.00 for a limo. The total is $ 350.00. The demand has a perspective. It’s not just a date, it’s the ball. The $ 350.00 is going to be used for very specific expenses.
If your project requires a budget of $ 10,000, we shouldn’t be asking for company resources like a spotty high school student. Breaking down the request into small and understandable parts will go a long way. Putting the request in perspective and showing a business need will go a lot further than just saying “Can I have 5000 widgets, I will try to move the needle to X”
The quickest way for an employee to tarnish their reputation is to repeat not asking for enough resources
The full Monty:
The next time you need resources, ask for the Full Monty. Don’t ask for a percentage. Look them straight in the eye, don’t make excuses, and admit that this is a business. Apply as a senior businessman in business terms.