The Best Way to Manage Up and Build Your Reputation

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Today I’ll share a simple, yet powerful acronym- PHIR. This little 4 letter word will catapult to the front of the line and begin to solidify your reputation as a clear communicator. My mentor, the great Mark Carter, shared this with me, and today I am sharing it with you! It is the perfect tool for many situations, but especially useful when managing up in the workplace

What is the best way to manage up?

Situation- you have an issue and need quick alignment across 2 department VP’s. Problem is, you know the “right thing to do” but aren’t the decision maker. Even worse, you need an answer yesterday for your partner division and the vendor to move forward with their next steps.

Example: You have credits with the vendor worth $75k, but to commission a new study would cost $150k. That’s $75k you DON’T have and you don’t need a study (project deep dive on customer consumption data). Your partner division DOES need a study AND would like to use your $75k credits. To compensate you, they are offering to pay the balance you owe on the contract of $65k. A no brainer right?

Since you know the 2 VP’s in question are triple booked ALL day- but they do keep up with email- this is what you do.

This is the perfect situation to use PHIR (Problem- History- Implications-Recommendation) to frame up your problem. Outlining the issues using these headers in bullets keeps it short & to the point.

Example Email:

Hi Jane & Dan,

We need your alignment to move forward with Division X and Vendor Y in regards to our $75k credit.

-Problem (or Issue): Division X would like to use our $75k in credits to pay for the cost of their study. They are offering to pay our outstanding balance of $65k to compensate us.

History: We have $75k in credits from last year’s contract consolidation.

-Implication: A new study would cost $150k, but we don’t need one at this time, so we cannot use the funds in this fiscal year.

-Recommendation: We recommend allowing Division X to use our funds and pay our outstanding balance on the contract.

Please advise if you are aligned and we will move forward.

When you are communicating with upper management- know that you MUST get your point across quickly and SPELL OUT what you are asking them to do. To make your email stand out- use this title in the subject line

ACTION: Need your alignment ASAP to allow Div X to use our $75k credit

Don’t write a book or looooonnnnnggggg essay. No one has time to read it. They will skip it for “later” which never actually comes.

Keep it short & simple and you will get a reputation for being a great communicator who gets results!

Thanks! MK

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