How do you create change in the organization when your boss doesn’t help you move your ideas up the chain of command?
This is a common complaint voiced by frontline departments, project teams, and just about any other group that needs the approval of somebody up the chain of command prior to taking action. By the way, this is just about everyone.
Frustration stems from the perception that nobody is listening. This is a problem because many of us equate listening with respect. It’s likely their listening skills aren’t the problem. It is more likely they do not agree with or do not want to implement your idea, and are not good at saying so.
If you want a better response to your proposals, consider the following suggestions.
Tune into the needs. Your proposal may be a wonderful idea. It might, however, address a problem that senior leaders do not presently care about. You may have solved an important problem, but if the bosses do not know it is important, they probably are focused on something else right now. How can you focus your creative energy on problems the leaders are currently facing?
Build a business case. Most of us have heard that we must make a business case argument for our ideas to gain attention. The problem is that this is not always easy to do. Imagine your idea will cost $20,000 to implement, and it is guaranteed to significantly increase employee satisfaction. Somebody should jump at that, right? Well not so fast. A manager is going to want to know what kind of financial return the $20K will generate. You will need to translate employee satisfaction into a financial return. You will also need to do it in a way that sounds realistic. Not always easy, but critical in building support for your idea.
Avoid creating more work. Ideas are the life blood of any organization. They are also relatively easy to come by. The hard part is figuring out how to implement them and then guide them through the system. Leaders always have plenty of people to tell them what ought to happen. They have far fewer people willing to step up and make it happen. Whether this is true or not in your situation, it is possible that your ideas are falling on deaf ears because the leaders are assuming your great ideas are going to mean more work for them. What can you do to pitch your idea in a way that sounds like a gift, rather than a new burden?