People Trust Pessimists

Painting a rosy picture is not as compelling as you might think

A number of components of the storytelling reference guide are reasons not to do the project: risks, alternative options, additional resources required.

But if you’re trying to make a case for a project, those are probably the last things you want to talk about.

When I started running projects, I always wanted to focus on the best case scenario.

I thought a rosy picture would make my audience more inclined to get behind it.

But experienced leaders will start thinking about risks and costs as soon as they read the title slide.

They know what they are.

They want to know that you do too.

If you can tell them about all the risks that they already thought of…

If you can calculate the costs that they immediately (over)estimated…

If you can tell them about all the ways they would rather tackle the problem…

If you can tell them that despite all that, despite all the reasons you might want to run screaming from this project, the benefits still outweigh the costs…

They will be more inclined to trust you.

And if, after weighing everything, the benefits don’t outweigh the costs…

Your problem isn’t the story, it’s the project.