While showing the downside of saying "no" is important, the real hay is made with hard data illustrating the benefits — financial and otherwise — to the company of saying 'yes.'
"Understand the benefits to the business," says Whitson. "Quantify those benefits, and then 'dollarize' those benefits." Whitson adds that it's critical to know and understand the financial terms, such as discount rate, cost of capital, hurdle rate, investment horizons, etc. And then know your organization's thresholds and parameters for those metrics, and which are most important. Always relate back to those metrics.
Showing that monetary return (or hurdle rate, if your organization prefers) is often easiest with energy efficiency projects. As sophisticated facility managers know, building the proposal in terms that show dollars and not kilowatt-hours is the tack to take. Know your organization's acceptable return rate, but understand that it may not always be set in stone. Adding projects, or finding rebates from the utility or the government (as Holesko advocates) to lower that ROI, can make your proposal more attractive.
Adding soft benefits to the proposal is a legitimate strategy, but you certainly don't want to hang your hopes on soft gains, say the experts. Cooke puts it like this, in reference to a recent proposal for photovoltaic panels: "We know and you know there's social value, but we can't quantify it. It is another piece for customers to recognize that we behave responsibly in terms of sustainability."
>> "Do not assume that more is better." John Balzer, vice president, facility planning and development, Froedtert Hospital and Community Health, says he can guarantee you that is not the case, when it comes to handing in a proposal. "The biggest piece of advice I can give, especially to those starting their career, is to be very specific and to the point, and to focus on measurable data," he says.
>> "Don't go back for more money until you can prove your last project is successful." Jim Cooke, national facilities operations manager, Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc., says that, even if a project demonstrates more modest results than you expected, don't hide those results. Instead, explain the specific reasons why that project wasn't as successful as you might have thought, why it's actually still a success in the grand scheme of things, and the specific reasons why this proposal is different.
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