There is a big difference between sharing your opinion and giving credible input and knowing that difference can have a powerful impact on your success.
Giving relevant, useful input is an important skill that requires practice and thoughtfulness. Without a framework for giving input on a question or issue, many of us get anxious and then resort to giving our opinion.
Yet, when decision-makers look to you for your expertise, they generally don’t want your opinion—they want useful input. They want you to think critically about the situation and then give them data that they can use to help make an informed decision.
When you’re asked to weigh in on a subject, you’re being asked to provide input based on your position within the organization. A good way to do that quickly is to ask yourself:
- What are the benefits – as I see them from my role in the company?
- What are the concerns – as I see them from my role in the company?
- Do I have any suggestions for how to move forward given the benefits and concerns?
If you’ve been getting our Monday Morning Business Coach emails, you’ll likely to have seen the Benefits, Concerns, and Suggestions (BCS) structure in a previous post. It’s a great tool with multiple uses.
If you weigh in by giving the information in the format listed above, you’ll have more influence than if you only say something like, “I like it” or “I don’t like it.” The BCS questions (as we call them) can help you articulate your input and provide data that others can use.
And, if you have a strong opinion about the issue, it’s fair to share that AFTER you’ve given usable input.
Here’s an example:
After sharing that information, she stated, “My opinion is that the loan is a good idea because of the benefits that I stated. I don’t think that the concerns outweigh those benefits and I would like to see us move toward taking a loan.”
Just so you know, our client’s opinion didn’t “win,” but because of her use of our BCS structure, she was delighted with how it went and believed the decision that was made (and more importantly HOW the decision was made) was, in fact, good for the organization.
Take some time today to determine whether you give powerful input or if you get caught up in giving your opinion. Practice using the BCS questions so that when asked for your thoughts, you can provide valuable input to the person asking.
The world needs your wisdom and expertise. Learning to share it in a way that people can hear it and act on it will be a game changer!
You’ve got this!