Getting Management to See Your Big Ideas
By Ashford University Staff
So, this is the year you want to get noticed at work. While others are making resolutions to find a new job, you just want to make a difference in yours. It’s not about getting a promotion (although that would be nice,) it’s about changing the way things are done and, hopefully, earning some recognition from those above you.
It’s not impossible to ignite change from outside the C-Suite. Just because someone is in an entry-level role or slightly above that doesn’t mean they can’t make a difference. This idea is especially true in “flatter” organizations, a structure in which collaboration is encouraged and layers of middle management are removed.
Forward Thinking asked three faculty members at the Forbes School of Business® at Ashford University how anyone, whether just starting out or with a couple years of experience, can become an influential voice.
Look for Opportunities
Some companies make it easy for their best and brightest to shine. You may work for an organization that awards prizes for creative thinking or invites visionary employees to participate in “innovation summits.” If that doesn’t sound like your business, you can still do your part to have your voice heard, as long you clearly communicate your ideas to the right people and win them over.
“All by itself, a great idea or a vision will not get you far – you must have the followers who believe in it, clearly see where this vision takes them in the future, and be willing to be a part of the team that supports the vision,” said Assistant Professor Dr. Irina Weisblat.
Seek Advice from Peers
While you’re trying to build a consensus among your co-workers, you can look outside your organization for advice on leading. Perhaps you have a successful friend who will share his/her story about getting noticed by the CEO? You might pose the question to your social networks.
Gaining outside feedback can be especially valuable if your company is one that has been slow to innovate, which is the case even for large organizations with an abundance of resources. In these instances, bureaucracy creates a bottleneck, according to Assistant Professor Dr. Diane Hamilton.
“If upper management does not empower mid-level management, it is even harder for change to occur,” Hamilton said. “If change occurs, it is important for leaders to be proactive in how they approach their followers if they want to have them adapt to change more easily.”
Even if your first idea is rejected, or worse, totally ignored by management, that shouldn’t make you afraid to speak up again. Look at every failure as a learning opportunity that can lead you to success.
“It’s only a stage in the process. Following your dreams helps you keep your zeal for life,” according to Assistant Professor Dr. Avisha Sadeghinejad. “It gives you motivation and purpose. Dreams don’t come true while you are trapped in your comfort zone."
However you plan to become an influencer this year and beyond, remember that it takes patience to get where you want to be. Sometimes we can be too eager to seize the moment, without realizing it’s the wrong moment. So be sure you’re looking at the big picture, while remaining proactive.
"Change starts from small steps,” Dr. Sadeghinejad added. “What matters is the mentality and the viewpoint for change.”
Written by Jason R. Latham, Content Manager for Bridgepoint Education.
Retrieved from Forbes, “The 5 Types of Organizational Structures”