Get buy-in with the Pyramid Principle

You maybe never made this mistake, but I sure did …

As a junior planning analyst and consultant, when it came to presenting my findings and recommendations, I thought the way to do it was:
… explain the analysis I had done
… show the insights that emerged from that analysis
… justify the recommendations that followed from those conclusions

Then I wondered why the people I worked for didn’t go along with my irrefutable logic and accept my recommendations. Sometimes we never got to the recommendations, because they would start picking away at things in the analysis they didn’t understand or agree with.

Then I came across Barbara Minto’s great little book “The Pyramid Principle”, which basically turns this logic upside down:
start with the key recommendation, or issue you want agreed
summarise the key insights that lead to this recommendation
… then only explain any supporting analysis that their questions call for (the not-pale supporting evidences in this figure)


  1. your audience are busy people and get annoyed sitting through stuff they either already know or don’t care about. Here, for example, everyone accepts Insight 3 so they never want it justified.
  2. Then, they are hooked from the start on the big payoff – why they should be paying attention, rather than puzzling about where all my clever analysis is going.
  3. It makes space for in-depth explanation of evidence that may be surprising or complex. Here, ‘support 3’ for ‘insight 1’ needs more explanation. (The analysis in each ‘support’ block may of course have layers of detail, so the complete pyramid can easily be huge!)

AND … I now realise that the principle has a huge benefit for how we actually do the work in the first place – but I will say more about that next time.

Get these insights directly with my value-emails at … and you will get a FREE article on implementing strategy (a key topic, needing much better tools).

#strategy #strategicmanagement #digitaltwin #businessmodels #simulation #pyramidprinciple #strategyanalysis #strategyrecommendations

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