As this career success blog has grown in popularity, I’ve received a lot of requests asking me if I accept guest posts. The short answer is “yes.” Today I have a guest post from a close friend, someone with whom I’ve rolled around in the mud for several years – the mud on the rugby pitch that is.
Jeff Calhoun is the Founder of Calhoun Consulting Partners. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He is also an expert in process improvement and in getting his ideas in front of senior management. In this post he shares his career advice on getting your ideas considered by your supervisor, manager or organization.
Jeff has a lot of great things to say here. Check it out…
How to Get Your Ideas Considered by Your Supervisor, Manager or Organization
Most people run into problems, as they perform their daily work. Incomplete information, old or confusing procedures, the wrong materials, or bad systems can contribute to inefficient work and create frustration for the worker. And many of us figure out ways to address these problems and make our work days and our work output better.
Enlightened companies and organizations solicit these improvement ideas as a part of their efforts to engage their workers and improve their performance. Such contributions are recognized and even rewarded by appreciative organizations. Unfortunately, not all employers are like that.
So, what do you do when you have a good idea on how to improve your work and the powers that be won’t listen? There are several ways to present your idea that increases the chances that someone will listen and recognize the value of your recommendation.
The first person who should hear and care about your idea is your immediate supervisor or manager. It is their responsibility to make things work in their area or department. And they should care about their worker’s ideas to get better. Presenting your idea to your direct supervisor needs to be done in a positive light, not as a complaint. Explain the problem that prevents you from doing your best possible work in their department. Then describe how you think the problem can be eliminated or minimized. If possible, try to define how much your work could improve if your idea is put in place. For example, if you were able to get all the information you need without making follow-up calls, you could process 10 forms per day instead of eight.
Another interested party to whom you can present your idea is the manager of the functional area involved. If the idea would improve training, then talk to the Human Resource Manager. If you need better purchased materials, go to the head of Supplier Management. If the suggestion would improve the quality of information, the relay your idea to the IS Supervisor. These people own the processes in question and are responsible for making sure they meet the needs of the user- YOU.
A good way to highlight the importance of your idea is to connect it to something the company says is important. Go to your department bulletin board or the company intranet and see what the organization is talking about. If you see a comment that employee safety is a high priority and you have a way to make things safer, mention that when you tell someone your idea. If fast response is a key to success and you know how to speed things up in your work, say so. Making these connections will also help you appear to be a smart and concerned employee.
After telling someone about your idea for improvement, that person or the organization owes you a response. If you don’t get a response, it’s okay to ask what is being done about it. They may not use your idea. They may not even give you a good reason why they won’t use it. But by clearly communicating to a responsible person what your idea is, how it can make things better and why it’s important, then you’ve done your job. Hopefully by doing so, your job will be better and people will appreciate your contribution to making things better for the company.
That’s Jeff Calhoun’s career advice on getting your ideas in front of senior people in your company. I like it. What do you think? Please take a minute to share your thoughts with us in a comment. As always, thanks for reading my daily thoughts on life and career success. I value you and I appreciate you.
PS: If you haven’t already done so, you can download a free copy of my latest career success book Success Tweets Explained. It’s a whopping 390 + pages of career advice explaining each of the common sense tweets in Success Tweets in detail. Go to http://budurl.com/STExp to claim your free copy. You’ll also start receiving my daily life and career success quotes.