What an excellent question. I hope to help you understand why
research reports get no action from management. By the very nature
of a research report it requires no action. It is merely a
fact-finding mission. So there are several options that can be done.
The first is to determine your motive in writing a report. Is the
report to be a informational report or an actionable report. Is it
weakness oriented? Most businesses like to work to overcome a
weakness. This does not mean that they do not want to branch out
into new fields but a weakness is much more easily identifiable and
actionable. There are several good ways to go about getting your
proposal seen and heard by management.
The first one I would like to discuss is TQM or Total quality
management. It is based on the idea that any weakness can be
overcome if you use the entire team to overcome it. If you are
interested in this there is a great book by Shoji Shiba, Alan Graham,
and David Walden called A New American TQM, Four practical
revolutions in management ISBN 1-5663327-032-3 which includes the 7
steps to reactive improvements. This is the weakness-oriented
approach. These steps include Selecting a Theme ( what you think
needs improving), Collecting and Analyzing Data ( really understanding
the weakness ), Analyzing data ( finding out what the cause of the
weakness is ) and Plan and implement a solution ( what are you going
to do about it ). In this example you give management not only the
data as to what the issue is but what you are going to do about it.
This is method not a madness I promise. It comes with directions on
how to get people organized for change. It also has sample reports
throughout that are easy to follow. Sometimes this process can be
very arduous but well worth he results if you can get management to
buy in on it.
Getting down to the facts. So often in the business world proposals
or full of information that is not advantageous to the original
proposal. Details can come in later models of whatever it is you are
trying to get proposed. There are professional services that will
help you in get you information into a clear and concise package.
You will find them under Additional Resources at the bottom of this.
I am not sure if you working within an existing company or are trying
to work from the outside in. It makes a difference. You have to
remember that with any proposal you are the sales person. You must
SELL the product to the customer ( IE management). Know your
managers, know what they like, if they are visual people you will need
to adapt for them, if they are factual then adjust more to that line
of thinking. Format is import. Managers want to be able to get to
the data as quickly as possible and yet YOU need to present it in a
way that gets their attention. You must be able to show the benefit
to them and the company to get this proposal into action. It also is
very important to have an action plan. How are you going to get it
done? No manager wants a proposal that they have to do the work for.
If you have a clear plan on the what, the whos, the when, the
where, and the how they will be more receptive to the idea. You must
make sure you have a product to sell to them though. A research
paper has nothing to sell its just research.
I have also listed under Additional Resources the book titled How
to Write Reports and Proposals by Diane Llutovich and Janis Fisher
Chan which is another excellent source for how to write a
professional proposal that will be noticed by management.
I have used both the books listed above and their ideas to move
proposals through management. I think the important part to remember
is that you are the sales person you have to come up with a near
marketing proposal to your managers to get them to notice your
proposal. I hope this helps you on your way to writing stellar
proposals! Have your peers read your proposal before turning it in
and see if they get excited about it. If they dont ask them how you
could make it more exciting as well. I do not know what field you are
working in, so it is very difficult to pinpoint actual ideas and
graphics and layouts that will best suit your needs. Your peers can
be an excellent source of help in getting a proposal pushed through
management. Management usually loves teamwork! You may also want
to look at a bookstore for a book on writing proposals for your given
career field. There are many out there and all would be worth the
money. Your company may also reimburse you for the book if you ask.
Dont be afraid to step out on a limb that is where all the fruit is.
If your proposal is rejected ask your manager for a review of why it
was rejected this will also help you learn more about your company and
what kinds of ideas they are looking for.
Business Proposal Templates at ProposalPack.com. Automated software
not required. Samples included
Sometimes the Best Word is 'NO': expert business advice and tips from
TQM And Organizational Change And Development
Amazon.com: buying info: How to Write Reports and Proposals
Good Luck on your next proposal!