I want to propose an idea to someone pretty high up on the ladder of a company as a third party developer.

I don't work for the company but this stackexchange sub seems to be the most appropriate. I simply need approval from them to develop a third party application abides by their current rules.

This is normally a standard query for this department, but because they're currently changing these rules, my query got bumped up the ladder.

Generally, they approve anything that doesn't break any rules. But my idea happens to be directly affected by these new policy changes.

As a result, my normally standard query got bumped up the ladder.

The problem

Person A (the lower level employee) initially rejected my request. I ask him to elaborate on which features I can and cannot use and my query got bumped to the higherup (Person B)

Person B backs up Person A in rejecting the request while simultaneously contradicting himself by approving a slightly altered request, which does the same thing but makes the software less efficient.

The intention was to get person A to see the inconsistency in their questionable decision. Considering many of their approved project use a similar, less efficient system. Person A likely realized this, which is why he bumped it up.

By all accounts they'll be looking for a good reason to reject my idea, but can't because they want to hold all developers to the same standard.

The question: How should I approach person B, explain to him Person A, Person B and the rulebook contradict eachother and the rule is pulled out of thin air, in a non-insulting manner, so that they hopefully give my proposal a closer look.

And explain the logical inconsistency with Person B also contradicted himself while initially reviewing the query. Likely due to skimming over it without paying attention to what's actually going on.

I'm okay with rejection. I just need a straight answer out of these people that's actually based on something so that I know what I can and cannot do.

closed as unclear what you're asking by sf02, gnat, gazzz0x2z, jmoreno, Twyxz Feb 11 at 8:50

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    Sorry, but I'm confused here. Are you talking about a business proposal? – Sourav Ghosh Feb 1 at 11:56
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    I want to propose an idea to someone pretty high up on the ladder of a company. it sounds to me that you already did that, after being rejected by the "lower-level" employee, and got rejected again. What is your question here? – Sourav Ghosh Feb 1 at 11:57
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    The supervisor essentially approved my idea without realizing it since I rephrased it to him. But he simultaneously rejected my idea as well, presumably to back up his employee...how do you know that for a fact? Was it told to you or you're assuming things? – Sourav Ghosh Feb 1 at 11:58
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    Try to be more specific, even if you do not provide actual info.E.g.: personA who is boss of personB... – virolino Feb 1 at 11:59
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    Does the company have a clear repository of rules? Or the rules are made by some people according to their needs at the moment? If there is anything formal, ask for details - politely, of course, underlining that you want to be a better person, following the existing rules better. – virolino Feb 1 at 12:03

Your best bet would be something like this:

Hi Steve, I addressed that {insert only one word here} issue and the project seems to now meet all guidelines. This project would immediately generate $70,000 a month so I'm very keen to get it approved. Can you help me with what the next steps should be now that {insert only one word here} issue is cleared?

Good luck.

Note - it makes no difference whatsoever which "single word" issue you insert in the text. Nobody will remember, care, or know what was previously discussed.

This will just remind them about the whole conversation with you, and make it fresh again.

Again - good luck!

  • Wouldn't it be disingenuous, considering that the issue is in fact more confused than ever from my point of view? I'm gonna have to adress the equivalent of 1+1 does not equal 3. I do like that that instant to-the-point approach though. I have absolutely not been doing that thusfar. I've just been doing things without thinking since under normal circumstances, this would not be an issue. Thanks for the advice! I do appreciate it. – user550385 Feb 1 at 14:14
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    hi @user550385 - NO it is not disingenuous. Being brief is never disingenuous. Note that - this is merely one of a thousand examples - it could be that they are simply no longer taking proposals whatsoever, in which case they will appreciate your brevity. It could be that they have been looking for you in which case your brevity is appropriate. Regarding the specifics (1 + 1 blah blah), nobody cares or is interested, at all, in your view. It may be much less (or much more) complex than you are currently thinking. You just want to (initially) bring the topic before them, quickly! – Fattie Feb 1 at 14:19
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    "I've just been doing things without thinking ..." it's totally normal and correct that technical people like yourself, have not a clue about negotiations. This is normal and good and how the world should be. The amazing thing is these days, you can literally buy books that will teach you the comms skills you need. Or, you can just ask me on here! Good luck! – Fattie Feb 1 at 14:21
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    Now get out there and kick ass! – Fattie Feb 1 at 14:24
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    It got approved by the way. ^^ Only had to make a minor change that barely makes a difference. Thanks for the advice! :D I cut a lot of the blah-blah, explained exactly what it is I'm trying to do and the way I currently perceived what was and wasn't allowed. Wish I could delete this post though, I hadn't slept in ~36 hours obsessing over this thing. Though to be fair, it was important enough to obsess over as well. – user550385 Feb 3 at 16:03

Figure out what motivates and is important to that senior manager, target one specific item and try to get her attention in the subject line or within the first two sentences.

Make sure you lead with why this is important and beneficial for him. If you can't phrase it like this, your chances are low.

  • I have no info on the guy unfortunately. No linkedin, nothing. :/ But you're right, I do need to learn to get to the point faster. – user550385 Feb 1 at 12:48

Wait for a good moment (or create one with "do you have a few spare minutes to discuss something?"):

Hi, I know I've suggested it before, but I really think my suggestion can help improve our efficiency/workflow/workload and it would be a shame if it doesn't get considered because I didnt assert it properly.

Would it be OK if I spend an hour [this week] to do a little research and create a small presentation? If it's not OK I'll drop it, but I just wanted to give it a final try.

And then, if you don't get an OK, drop it. You tried, they didn't want to listen. There might be something you're unaware of, some thing might be done as they are for a reason unknown to you. You should stop pushing when you reach the level "I've done a reasonable amount of effort to help the company, better luck next idea".

It might help to think about a way to phraze it so that it doesn't suggest that you're going behind someones back. Even if you don't intend to do that, being a little defensive here isn't going to harm.

Management often doesnt bother a lot with "fun/interesting ideas". Their job is creating a healthy profit, so if you can increase that directly or indirectly, you'll get their attention a lot faster.

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    I quite like that. It's not 100% relevant because I didn't explain myself properly in this thread... My inability to explain things seems to be at the core of the problem here as well... But it's true that it may indeed provide value for them as well as me. – user550385 Feb 1 at 12:43
  • But you work for a company. Bluntly put, what you want is irrelevant (of course, this has nuances, but you get the gist). – Martijn Feb 1 at 12:45
  • I don't work for the company. It's (normally) standard query all third party developers have to make. Unfortunately due to their changing policy, it's become nonstandard and it got bumped up the ladder. – user550385 Feb 1 at 12:47

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