Warp It’s founder Daniel O’Connor is here to talk from personal experience, through interesting anecdotes, about how you can provide sensible logic to your boss or director to get them interested in reuse. Daniel has recruited most of the UK’s universities, councils and regional NHS facilities onto our furniture reuse software, so you can trust that he has a lot of experience working with senior management and decision makers.
Daniel’s excellent methods of persuasion have built so much genuine support for reuse that Warp It’s users have now saved over £11.9m, over 5.5 million kilos of carbon, diverted over 2,000 tonnes of waste from landfill and provided almost £2.0m in asset donations to charity.
Daniel will take over from here...
“I just met with a customer, and after the session I was talking to the lead on sustainability in the organisation. She is a very switched-on person, and the conversation held a lot of value, which I’m about to divulge to you.”
Sustainability within the estates department
“The customer was telling me that she had been struggling to get buy in from the estates manager, so I dug a little deeper to find out what gains she had made on the system. She told me that recently they had cleared a room with fifteen tables, multiple chairs and various other small bits of furniture and surplus assets. All the assets were claimed by just three or four different charities and a university, all via Warp It’s system.
I told her that this was a saving of at least £1000 in staff resources and waste disposal charges alone, all the hours of moving them, destroying them and disposing them in skips. This doesn’t even include the cost of procuring new items to replace these for the recipients! Depending on how efficiently the surplus assets have been ‘dismantled’ or destroyed, they may take up multiple skips, doubling or tripling the waste disposal charge, which is around £150 per skip!”
The bare minimum
“So, the bare minimum saving was £1000 of labour and disposal, plus a great chunk of time, which seems like it would have brilliant results, but it still wasn’t enough to get a buy in from the estates manager. Even though the savings are X amount on the waste disposal budget, it seems still not to be enough to impress him. She told me ‘He’s going to senior management meetings, and I know he won’t be singing and praising the system because he hasn’t bought in himself. How do I get the buy in?’”
Why should your boss buy in if they aren't obliged?
This small anecdote highlights the fact that your bosses or directors have different hooks for choosing to support your projects.To gain approval for a project or a new initiative, the first step is often convincing your boss, or the director of the department.
We realise that this is sometimes a mountain to climb even before you bring in your new amazing project. Here we spend a great deal our time persuading people about our system, and so I think we have some useful advice in this area. We have therefore produced a guide which you can download for free: 10 top tips for getting senior buy in. You can use this for just about any project or initiative ...including asking for a raise or new job!
To complement this downloadable, we’ve put our heads together and come up with seven ideas why you perhaps haven’t won support from your boss yet.
- You are only as good as your last performance! Are you doing well in other projects? Your boss or director is far more likely to consider suggestions if your last project was successful. Match the size of your suggestion to the quality of your reputation.
- What problems does your boss have? Think about the world from the perspective of your boss. What are their goals? What do they need to do to succeed? What achievements are they striving for? What will get them promoted? Match their objectives to the outcomes of your project and sell the project explaining how it will help them reach their goals.
- Get support from respected colleagues or your boss’s peers. If your idea is interesting and possibly beneficial, it shouldn’t be too hard to get a colleague to support it. Provided the boss respects their opinion, their interest in participating helps support your arguments. Consider trying to get them involved if you are struggling to get your boss on board. (This tip comes from John Bailey at Uni of London)
- Look for respected organisations that already do or support the activity that you want to try. Find companies your boss respects that already use the practice you have in mind, and use his admiration for others to your advantage.
- Plan for a trial. The boss doesn’t want to commit to a yes or no decision, so give them an easy option in the middle. “Can we just try it on a small scale?” This lowers their sense of risk. Suggest you try the new thing on a trial basis: a week or a month. Propose a list of criteria for how to evaluate if the new thing was successful after the trial is over. Pick the smallest simplest version of the thing you want to try. Hit the KPIs and grow from there! (guide here)
- Plant a seed. You don’t necessarily need to go straight into a massive pitch. Remember that most people in power respond differently to pitches when they are in front of a group compared to when when they are by themselves. Find a situation that provides the best opportunity, based on when your boss is most responsive to suggestions. This could be through email, during your performance discussions, over morning coffee, outside of work or on the phone.
- Discuss and define the problem, X (in terms the boss relates to) - this brings it to the front of their mind. Leave it at that.
- Then on another occasion, offer the solution. “ I have been thinking about when we were talking about X….”
- Organise the pitch
- Define the (trial) terms, and reference what other companies already participate.
- You win, and X is solved.
- The trial is where you really need to work hard! Your reputation is on the line in the trial. If the trial goes well, and they agree to the change, you’ll be in higher standings for the next recommendation you make, and convincing them again will be far easier.
Got your boss on board?
For everyone else, this free download is going to help you massively!