Success at Work : People Skills : Dealing with New Ideas
by: Stephen Bucaro
Re-organizing, re-engineering, re-training, down-sizing, outsourcing, changing-changing-changing. Organizations today think they need to be constantly changing or they will perish. Corporate leaders worship at the alter of new ideas where the motto is, "Any new idea is a good idea".
Every organization operates based on work-flow and processes. The reason the current processes are in effect is because over the years, many different ways of doing things have been tried, and the organization adapted the current processes because they work.
There's nothing wrong with new ideas. Business conditions are always changing. New competitors appear, new regulations are enacted, and new technologies become available. The smart organization needs to adjust and innovate. But here's the problem - 99 percent of all new ideas don't work.
- If you want to be successful at work, you have to learn how to handle a constant barrage of new ideas and the chaotic work environment that results.
New Ideas from the Corporate Board Room
The most destructive new ideas come from the Board Room. A corporate executive has an idea. He knows that 99 percent of new ideas, even his ideas, won't work. He proposes the idea in order to receive feedback from the managers. Instead of pointing out flaws in the executive's idea, managers heads start bobbing.
No one has the courage to tell the executive that his idea won't work. In fact, each manager is thinking to themselves, "I'm going to MAKE his idea work and get some browny points."
There are three reasons why most new ideas from the corporate board room don't work.
1. People at the executive level get all their information from "head bobbing" managers. At the executive level, reality is replaced by political fantasy.
2. They produce one-size-fits-all solutions. Most new ideas don't work when they have to accommodate the complexity of reality.
3. Rather than taking time to study an idea, managers begin immediate implementation. After all, the way all those managers heads were bobbing, the idea must be great.
When your job is affected by an idea passed down from management, DO NOT respond by saying "that won't work". Managers have a built-in filter that converts the phrase "that won't work" to "I have a bad attitude". If you have a reason why the idea won't work, say it this way, "How does that work with (reason why the idea won't work)".
Saying it that way, you have not rejected the idea. In fact, you may have given the manager an opportunity to fix a problem before it arises. If you see a problem with an idea and you provide a solution to that problem, you will be considered a great team player.
New Ideas from Co-workers
If a co-worker approaches you with an idea that varies from the company's policies and procedures, don't respond by approving or disapproving the idea. Say this, "that's an interesting idea. Check with the supervisor/manager before doing things that way. Until then, we should follow the current procedure."
- Almost all mistakes made by a business are the result of an employee deciding to do things THEIR WAY rather than follow the company's procedures. To eliminate mistakes, a company must fully document and vigorously enforce all policies and procedures. Workers must follow the company's procedures.
Because the workers actually know what's going on in the company, they are in a position to produce good ideas. Unfortunately, their ideas are often only ways to make THEIR job easier by shifting their work to another person or department.
If your supervisor/manager asks for your input on a co-worker's idea, don't respond by saying "that won't work" or by criticizing the idea. When you criticize a co-worker's idea, you criticize the co-worker. You will step on the co-workers ego and probably create an enemy. Instead, respond by asking questions about the idea in a way that implies that you might not fully understand the idea. For example, ask "how does that work with (reason why the idea won't work)".
- If the co-worker's idea won't work, don't be surprised if the manager approves it anyway. There are several reasons why a manager will approve a bad idea. Sometimes the manager wants to let the worker learn for themself why the idea won't work. Sometimes a bad idea is approved in order to pacify the employee. Sometimes it's because the manager doesn't have a clue how things work in their own department.
- Most ideas start out stupid and eventually die (until some fool brings it up again a year later). But about one percent of ideas receive some study and get modified until they actually work.
Handling Rejection of Your Own Ideas
A good employee is always thinking of ways to improve their job and their company. Bosses like workers who take the initiative to solve problems. Companies need all the ideas they can get. But the fact remains that statistically 99 percent of all ideas don't work, and that includes YOUR ideas.
When your boss and coworkers point out the reasons why your idea won't work, don't feel they are criticizing you personally. They are criticizing the IDEA, not YOU. No matter how unworkable the idea turns out, you are still to be credited with producing the idea.
- If your manager rejects your idea, don't be surprised if later they present the same or a similar idea as their own. In any organization, no matter who takes the credit, everyone always knows where an idea really came from. Eventually you will receive the recognition you deserve.
Statistically, 99 percent of all ideas don't work. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't keep thinking of ways to improve your job, your company, and your company's product. It's not the GETTING of ideas that's bad, It's the implementing of ideas without doing the required studies - that's bad. One in a hundred ideas DO work, and occasionally that one idea will generate millions of dollars of savings or revenue for the company.
Copyright(C) Bucaro TecHelp.
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