Imagine that you have a great new process idea or new product and you want to avoid the often ignored complaint and suggestion box. The company could improve the bottom line, work environment, quality of products, business services, or customer service satisfaction.
How do you get buy off from those from the decision makers? And when is it time to propose the idea? Some fear losing their job while others are real go-getters and get right into the bosses face. Let’s take a look at some the things to consider before approaching upper management.
Make Sure Your Idea Is In Alignment
One the first questions to answer about your new idea or proposal is, do the goals match those of the business? For example, is it good for the business both from a financial or public relations standpoint? Will customers view the business and a positive or negative light if it’s implemented?
Every successful big or small business has a mission statement, does is in line with that? Also, consider whether it fits with existing goals in the firm. It’s possible that management has decided their focus is on increasing revenue. If your idea has the potential to hinder this, you may want to rethink where it fits into the bigger picture.
What are the benefits to the company? Perhaps taking action on your idea results in a bonus for everyone, assuming all required resources are available.
List The Necessary Resources
Determine ahead of time the resources required. Is it just yourself or will it include your peers? Are any external vendors needed? The business only has finite resources available to spend money on projects and new employees. How much money do you need to plan, execute, and test it?
Don’t forget any potential regulatory requirements such as certifications and permits. The space required for the new project is also a consideration. Will it take up an entire room, warehouse, or small enough to fit on a desk? Space also should address digital requirements such as data storage space on a server hard drive. Will the business need to buy new desktop computers?
Finally, who has time to put this idea into action? Can you fit into your existing schedule or is it a new task on top of an existing workload? Does it take time away from accomplishing other tasks required for the business? If not, will management need to approve over time? Consider all necessary time for implementing all phases of the plan.
Do This, Then Do That
When it comes implementation, it’s best to break it up into several stages. The planning stage is to determine what you need. Establish measurable milestones to make sure that the project is on track. The last thing you’ll want is the project falling.
Figure out how involved the testing will be. There may be physical tests, electrical tests, and feasibility trials. All these needs benchmark with thresholds to meet. Document everything regardless if this is an internal process or an end user product.
Be ready to train others including both peers and customers, if necessary. Determine a marketing budget to let prospective customers know about your new offering which may include promotional products. You may need to shop around or perform a low-cost experiment using already existing material.
Make sure to have a functional prototype ready to show others. It helps with getting buy-in if they can see a rough sketch to see the potential.Establish measurable #milestones to make sure that the project is on track Click To Tweet
Discover The Efficacy Of Your Idea
It’s a must to have data available to show feasibility. You may want to consider whether it’s like anything existing. Perhaps competitors or another industry are already doing something similar. Seek independent opinions from outside the business such as a consultant. They can help you look through any biases and help bring things to light.
There is are number information resources available to get crucial information. The Internet is handy, but be sure to check how factual the data is, not everything you read on the Internet is true. Another place to check is the local library and see if there’s any books or magazines about the topic.
Vendors you are currently working with are great; they can provide background information. Interview others if you’re bringing something from another field into your industry. Be ready to make clear to the boss how you are trying to solve an existing problem. Otherwise, your idea may just be a solution looking for a problem, and you want to be ready to address that concern.
Memorize A List Of Talking Points
Prepare answers to potential questions before sharing ideas with upper management. Run your idea past your peers as they likely will have a role in during the implementation phase. Peers can also give your new idea a once over to determine if you overlooked anything critical.
During talks with your colleagues make sure that they are criticizing the project. Have them be the devil’s advocate and suggest why it won’t work and the reasons why. Also, have them list out the reasons why it will work. When it comes to actually pitching the idea to your boss you connect you’re going to be a salesperson.
Be sure to have talking points available in case any objections come up. It’s best to have a counterpoint ready instead of having to come up with one on the fly. Another inquiry from management may include the pros and cons of this new suggestion. Is it good for everybody or are there some that won’t reap any benefits?
An entire project can come crashing down if you receive negative pushback when presenting it.
Skip The Complaint And Suggestion Box
Have paperwork available for review during the actual pitch with management. Writing out the idea is both convenient during the review process and helps ensure that you include everything. Digital forms may include a slide show or word document. Don’t just insert your idea into a complaint and suggestion box, but instead, deliver it to management in person.
Compose the description and details about your idea in plain English. When using technical terms, be sure to include a definition at first use. If a functional prototype is available, make sure to bring that with you.
You don’t want the boss to become distracted in the middle of your presentation. Try to meet with them when there are fewer people around. The lunch hour, before, or after work reduces the chance of interruption.
When presenting the idea, try to provide more than one option. Allowing them to make a decision besides yes or not provides a sense of involvement. You may want to invite others from the office, who you spoke with about the project in advance, to join you. If others in the office don’t care about it, they are less likely to take part.Compose the description and details about your idea in plain #English Click To Tweet
Keep The Project Alive At All Costs
At the end of the initial meeting be sure to negotiate what the next step is with your boss. Ask for permission to further develop your prototype if necessary. After initial buy-in, establish a deadline so that completion doesn’t become open-ended. Make sure that everyone understands what success is and what is a failure.
Send a reminder out to everyone during the days and hours leading up to the follow-up meeting. If some people don’t show up, then be sure to follow up with them at least the next day. Contact everyone weekly so that the idea remains fresh, which also demonstrates your commitment.
The satisfaction of seeing your plan come to fruition has no comparison. It can be hard work aligning the new idea with company goals and testing new concepts. Determining resource requirements and coming up with a plan are essential. Handling push back and objections are par for the course. Not everyone is open to change, yet in the end, it will all be worth it as long as you keep everyone involved. This is a lot to keep track of! Fortunately, there’s a checklist available to help you make sure everything is taken care of. Just fill out the form below and watch your email for a PDF file to appear.
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