Your boss tells you you have to meet a goal you feel is not realistic.  Can you tell him it is not realistic?  Can you point out that others in the company aren’t measured by the same standards your team is or will that be seen as complaining?

There is a way to frame a message so you can disagree AND be seen as a strong key player at the same time.  It is all in how you say it and when you say it- Words and Timing.

Words- How to Say It

1. Always start with the Point of Agreement. In the above example you would want the boss to know you understand that goals are set to drive people to achieve a level

2. Tie it in with positively with Contrasting Point– AND you realize he would never want a goal that will defeat the long-term objective of continued growth and client satisfaction.

3. Ask Probing Questions that help you EXPAND the conversation so you can more clearly learn his thinking, his assumptions and any new information he may have that you don’t.  For example, imagine you think a goal is not realistic because you don’t have the resources to achieve it BUT he knows that Senior Leadership has just increased his budget to hire those new resources.  Thus, his goal wouldn’t be unrealistic, you just need to prioritize it with the hiring of new people.

If you point out only the flaws, jump on the side of why something won’t work, or contrast your goals with others you will be seen as whining.

So step up, take a deep breath and assume you only know 30% of what you need to know, probe to uncover the other 70% then manage the expectations.

Want to make sure you are viewed strategically?  Join us for our next Managing Your Message Experience in September.  Seats are limited so check it out soon!