How to make recommendations to senior leaders

Dec 11 / Metron
In the dynamic world of business, managers often find themselves identifying opportunities to improve processes, deliver better services to customers, or address emerging challenges.

But they struggle to package their ideas in a way that senior managers can understand. It's crucial for managers to learn to craft compelling recommendations that resonate with an organisation's strategic vision and decision-making processes.

What Senior Leaders Seek in Recommendations

Senior leaders typically consider the following aspects when evaluating a manager's recommendation. We'll apply this with an example in a moment.

Problem Identification: Clearly articulate the business issue or challenge that the proposed idea aims to resolve.
Evidence-Based Approach: Support the recommendation with data, analytics, or case studies that demonstrate its effectiveness.
Strategic Fit: Demonstrate how the idea aligns with the company's overall goals, objectives, and strategic direction.
Implementation Plan: Outline a clear and feasible plan for implementing the recommendation, including resource allocation, timelines, and potential risks.
Measurable Impact: Explain how the success of the implementation will be measured and evaluated.

3 Tips for Crafting Compelling Recommendations

Frame the Recommendation as a Proposition: Transform your idea into a compelling proposition that clearly conveys the value proposition and benefits it offers to the organisation.
Outline Strategic Options: Present a range of strategic options, considering different approaches and potential trade-offs. This demonstrates a comprehensive understanding of the issue and allows for informed decision-making.
Tailor Your Pitch to Senior Leaders' Style: Understand the communication preferences and decision-making style of your senior leadership team. Adapt your pitch to resonate with their preferred communication style and decision-making processes.
Strategic Thinking course

Case study example

As the culinary innovation manager at a renowned Michelin-starred restaurant, Bashir often found himself identifying opportunities to enhance the dining experience and elevate the restaurant's culinary offerings.

During one of his regular staff meetings, Bashir noticed a recurring theme among the chefs: a desire for more creative freedom and a broader range of ingredients to experiment with. This observation sparked a vague idea in Bashir's mind – to establish a collaborative kitchen garden to source fresh, seasonal ingredients directly from the restaurant's own garden.

Transforming a vague idea

Bashir recognised that a vague idea would not resonate with the restaurant's senior management team. To transform his idea into a compelling recommendation, he followed these steps:

Problem Identification: Bashir clearly articulated the business challenge: the need for fresh, locally sourced ingredients to enhance the restaurant's culinary offerings and maintain its reputation for innovation.

Strategic Fit: He demonstrated how the kitchen garden aligned with the restaurant's overall goals: to redefine fine dining by embracing sustainability and local sourcing.

Evidence-Based Approach: He presented data on the benefits of kitchen gardens, such as reduced food waste, improved food quality, and enhanced employee morale.

Implementation Plan: Bashir outlined a detailed implementation plan, including resource allocation, timelines, and potential challenges.

Measurable Impact: He proposed a metrics-driven approach to evaluate the success of the kitchen garden, such as tracking food waste reduction and customer satisfaction with locally sourced ingredients.

When presenting his recommendation to the senior leadership team, Bashir tailored his pitch to their communication style and decision-making processes. He focused on the tangible benefits of the kitchen garden, such as increased revenue by an extra £800,000 from enhanced guest experiences and reduced food costs. He also highlighted the alignment with the restaurant's core values of sustainability and innovation.


Effective recommendations are not just about presenting ideas;  managers can convince senior leaders of their value proposition and align them with the organisation's strategic goals.

By carefully crafting recommendations that address the key aspects that senior leaders seek, managers can effectively influence decision-making and contribute to the overall success of the organisation.

Bashir's example demonstrates how managers in unique industries can effectively turn vague ideas into clear and compelling recommendations that drive positive change and contribute to the overall success of the organisation.

By leveraging data-driven insights, a strategic approach, and a clear understanding of the organisation's goals, managers can make a significant impact on their respective industries.

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