In my early career days, post undergraduate school, I worked as a sales person. Calling on clients, I learned very quickly that their time is precious, I’d better be prepared and above all, that I should “ask for the sale” before I leave. 25 years later into a career in emergency services, I haven’t forgotten those lessons, especially when it comes to keeping customers “My Bosses” informed, updated and engaged.
Regularly updating your bosses with a concise, written and personally delivered briefing is an opportunity to adapt to changing conditions, make sure that you are meeting their measurable goals mid-project and for gaining support to expand or constrict programs as needed.
Be brief, be honest, be visual and be ready.
These are the fundamentals for being successful when it comes to addressing your stakeholders and getting criticism.
Praise is always welcome, but criticism is what makes your project serve the needs of the customer. Whether that customer is your boss, your subordinate or yourself; regularly briefing others keeps you honest.
But before you get up and walk away from that briefing, make sure you “asked” for something. More resources, more direction, more funding or more clarity of the goal; Asking for more compels the boss/customer/co-worker/client to thoughtfully assess your project, not just accept what you said without challenging you to do better.