We all have sat in a development workshop and said:
- This is good stuff, how do I get my boss to adapt these ideas?
- This will only work if management gets on board.
- I really wish my manager was here to hear this, he is the one that needs to make the change.
- I’m looking forward to sharing this with upper-management and getting their buy-in.
All of the above is valiant and often management is not as open or enthusiastic or believes that only they can come up with great ideas…
How can I get useful ideas through to management?
1. Learn everything you can.
- Education and knowledge is something that you take with you, wherever you are. Becoming a source of knowledge and wisdom will make you an attractor of people who are looking for ideas and assistance.
2. Identify the area over which you have influence.
- You may not be able to impact everyone and you have impact over your work, your tasks, and your communication. You can make thing happen where you have control.
3. Identify some priorities. Select improvement efforts that:
- Help external customers.
- Help the area of work, the people doing the work, the system of work.
- Impress your managers’ manager helping your manager look good in the eyes of her manager will get the work and improvement noticed!
- Will prove to be successful. Choose an easy win that can break some ‘stuckness’ in management thinking.
4. Recruit Allies.
- Find like minded people that are willing to support the effort. With more people, greater company acceptance happens and your chances for success increase.
5. Have Data.
- Use data to show your approach and ideas are working. Use data to determine your current situation and to measure progress. Management is going to want to see data. If you can use data to tell a story and illustrate an impact it will be helpful.
6. Communicate Artfully.
- Share your work and progress with other people. Communicate with people in the way that they listen and receive information. You may have to change your message to fit the person and audience.
7. Do not argue with those that disagree.
- People will resist your idea for improvement, that is normal. If someone is resistant leave them alone. Be clear about what you are doing, what you want to do. Find what (and who) work best and quickly do more of it. Your progress and success will attract others.
“These guidelines suggest what you can do when you’re a lonely little low-ranking, cubicle-inhabiting, systems-thinking petunia trying to introduce a new philosophy of leadership to those rooted in the onion patch of an obsolete managerial philosophy.” – Peter R. Scholtes
- The bold headings above are from ‘The Leader’s Handbook’ Peter R. Scholtes 1998. pp. 390-391
What do you think?
What has worked for you to get ideas into the company and management culture? Which of the 7 guidelines above have you tried? What worked? What would you add?
michael cardus is create-learning