The Project Funding Case

Getting out-of-cycle funding for new projects can be difficult, particularly if – even though mandatory – they won’t immediately add to your bottom line. Elizabeth, a project manager with a large Australian finance house, recently proved how fully understanding each of your gatekeeper’s concerns and pitching them individually at their point of interest (not yours) increases your chances of getting the funding you need. Upon receiving a ‘request' from the industry regulator to improve the way her business was reporting on some if its activities, Elizabeth's first reaction was to approach the finance team for the $10 million she needed to complete the work. However, she realised that finance may well say ‘no’ as her division had a heavy balance sheet and a habit of running a budget surplus. To solve this, she negotiated her way through a series of different agendas using a clear understanding of each audience’s position to craft three storylines: one for each interaction. The two main stories were for the leadership team and for finance, but she also needed approval and support from her manager during the leadership team conversations. She first worked with a colleague to map out the general architecture for the stories she needed to take to the leadership team and to Finance. Once these were bedded down – hand written on one A4 page – she prepared a story for her manager to gain his approval of both her strategy and the general content of her presentations to both audiences. Click here to download the stories and a copy of her paper to the leadership team. It was a short meeting: In 10 minutes he agreed with her strategies and her presentation storylines and also to support her approach among the other leaders. Once this was agreed, she arranged a slot in the next leadership team meeting to discuss the budget prioritisation that was needed. This meeting was predictably difficult with team leaders not wanting to give up their budgets, however with quite some negotiation she extracted $2 million seed funding for the project. She then tweaked the Finance storyline to add in the details stemming from the leadership team meeting. Finance was predictably reluctant to part with such a large sum, and agreed to allow her to start the projects by running them in deficit, effectively over riding the leadership team’s protection of their budget numbers. Read on to go over the three storylines that Elizabeth prepared, or download them here.

For her manager

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For the leadership team

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For Finance

cc - elizabeths funding dilemma (finance) style_8.001   Click here to download the storylines so you can keep them for reference, or share them with colleagues.   _______________________________________________________________________________________ Screen Shot 2014-05-29 at 8.26.49 PMDavina Stanley is Managing Director of Clarity College. Davina began her consulting career as a Communication Specialist with McKinsey & Company in Hong Kong and now runs Clarity College. She loves helping teams to use logic to push their thinking early on so that they can consistently deliver brief and insightful stories to their clients. Learn more about me and my work Learn more about me and my work