Getting a Yes

We request approval all the time - from a loved one, from a colleague, from a boss - but getting a "yes" can be tricky.

In this Design Experiment, we'll design some simple activities and exercises to bolster your request for approval, and to help you get the "yes" you want. 

Each of the Leadership Lab Design Experiments follows a simple four-step approach: clarify, inspire, design and execute. 

1. Clarify

Specify Your Need
Specify Stakeholders
Ensure Your Need is Clear
Build a Safety Net
Profile Your Approvers
Milestone: Check-in

2. Inspire

Watch external story
Watch stoked story
Read case study
Sample Presentation
Analogous Situation
Milestone: Check-In

3. Design

Make 'em care/understand
Draft a Tic-Toc
Review Audience Feelings
How Will You Feel
Milestone: Check-In

4. Execute

Get Squad Support
Crush It!
Milestone: Check-In

1: Clarify


1a. Specify your need

Get specific about what you need (money, time, people, other?) and frame that need from the end-user’s perspective. Also, take a second to appreciate where this need fits in your life.


1b. Specify all other stakeholders

Highlight everyone you need to approve your need and people who can help you influence them. Also, think about all other stakeholders that will be affected.

1c. Ensure your need is clear and detailed with a safe audience

Review your need with a member of your squad. Push each other to as much clarity as possible. They don’t live your need everyday, so if it is clear to them, chances are it will also be clear to you.


1d. Build a safety net

Plan A is to get your need approved. But you should be prepared for all scenarios, even if it just allows you to feel more confident in your plan.

1e. Profile your approvers

Apply your design skills to the people you need approval from. What drives them? How will they need to feel to approve your need and how might you design for that emotion?

Milestone 1: Squad check-in

Review step one with the squad to support one another and finalize your need before moving on.

2. Inspire


2a. Watch a story from another organization

Draw some inspiration from a successful request in another organization.

As a principal designer for GE Healthcare, Doug Dietz had been designing diagnostic imaging equipment for more than 20 years when he realized that young patients' actual experience of this cutting-edge technology was, well, awful. Hear his story in this TedX Talk from 2012. 

2b. Watch story from stoked team

Draw some inspiration from a successful request by a member of the stoked team. Feel free to follow up for some more detail.


2c. Case Study

Just because case studies are often boring doesn’t mean they aren’t helpful.

In today's rapidly changing market environment, customer needs do not remain the same. This makes it difficult for companies to decide what project is more beneficial than other projects, and on how to set the priority. This paper looks at the successful implementation of the demand process at the National Bank of Abu Dhabi, which is used in evaluating business requests.

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2d. Review sample presentation (and steal template!)

Presentations aren’t the only way to collaborate, but they are the corporate default. If you have to make a presentation, at least make it human-centered.

2e. Generate ideas from analogous situations

Consider some fun analogous scenarios to see if it whets your creativity. Imagine that you need to ask your approver to: 

  • Drive you to the airport
  • Donate to your charity
  • Buy girl scout cookies
  • Give to homeless person o the corner
  • Go to prom

Milestone 2: Squad check-in

Share the inspiration that resonates with you and hear your squad’s inspiration. You’ll be ready to draw from it and move on to designing your experience.

3. Design


3a. Make your audience care, then make them understand

Be sure to appeal to your audience’s emotion as well as their cognition. Don’t just make it possible for them to say yes, make it easy!

3b. Draft a tic toc of your experience

Get detailed about your experience so you are fully prepared.

3c. Review how the audience will feel

Go over your design to be sure it will have the desired effect on your audience.

3d. Review how you will feel

Don’t forget about your experience. Make sure you are set up to bring your best self.

Milestone 3: Squad check-in

Share your design with your squad to get some feedback. Even better if you can try it out!

4. Execute

4a. Get support from your squad

Your whole team has your back. Know that even if we can’t be with you, you aren’t going into this alone.

4b. Crush it!

Putting yourself out there takes a lot of courage. You win just by showing up. Also, you are super prepared. Time to go crush this thing.

Milestone 4: Squad check-in

Check in with the squad to hear how it went for everyone. Support everyone through next steps.