The workplace is full of bureaucrats and stubborn proponents of the status quo, so it’s common to feel like the great idea hatched in your fevered mind one insomnia-plagued night will never find its way to reality. But even in dealing with short-sighted bosses you can rise to the challenge of transitioning your idea from writing pad to drawing board through careful preparation and presentation. Here are three suggestions to help you produce a viable plan for getting your idea heard and implemented without hasty rejections.
The first step is to couch your idea in a thought out argument highlighting the benefits of the idea with hard evidence and a well-organized written document. Your best bet is to think more like an academician than an office professional. Harkening back to those halcyon days of college should quickly draw up memories of thesis construction, credible sources, and strong supporting arguments.
The approach you take when discussing and academic topic is the same one you should use in the workplace. Your boss is only going to recognize your idea as worthy if you supply the research that proves its value. You want to avoid dry lists of facts so focus on the most relevant data and keep your presentation succinct to avoid the risk of losing your boss’s interest and attention. With credible data, show how your idea can be feasibly implemented and demonstrate its efficacy with salient statistics and other impactful data.
After successfully exhibiting the fundamental strength of your idea, it’s time to sell it in terms of competitive advantage. Zero in on the practices of your company’s prime competitors and show what they do to achieve results. Showing how your idea blows away any advantage the competition may have will quickly gain you the attention and traction you need to get your boss on board.
Finally, if all else fails (or just to further bolster your presentation), tie your idea to the bottom line. Make money a regular reference point and show how your idea will add value to the company in the short and long terms. Promising increased revenue will almost certainly at least get your suggestions a look and will possibly open the resource purse up further when the senior executives decide to invest in your idea. Many times the financial benefits may not be especially apparent, but simply proving that your idea could lead to higher sales, improved customer satisfaction, or more efficient (read: less expensive) operations will go a long way to gaining much needed high-level support.
Especially if your idea is for a project you are passionate about and want to remain involved with for a long time, get your thoughts out there now. Use the steps above to ensure your idea isn’t eventually stolen or your responsibilities delegated to someone else. And once your idea has gained a stronghold of support from the higher-ups, you can get started on the next step: execution.