Ever feel creatively squashed at your job? When you're working for a large (or small) organization, it might feel close to impossible to have your ideas heard if you're not in upper management. You may even spend a large portion of your day dwelling on the idea that if everyone just did it your way, the organization might be more successful.
We've all been there. I started my career working at one of the largest accounting firms in the country and it felt impossible to ever feel "heard." It took me a long time to realize the only person I had any true control over was myself. I ditched the complaining and started following five simple steps to have my ideas and opinions heard (and respected). From there, I moved up the ranks steadily across a few different companies and now, I run an eCommerce logistics and fulfillment business and encourage my team to bring their ideas to life daily.
Here are 5 ways that you can start seeing your ideas come to life at work:
1. Think out your plan.
There is a difference between expressing your ideas and complaining about what's not working. If you see an opportunity to create a positive change in the organization you work for, seize it! Draft out the plan of action you and your team will need to take, and what the expected outcomes are. Include as much data and research to show your team and boss that you're serious about finding a solution.
2. Speak up.
If you're reading this article, chances are you didn't get hired to keep your mouth shut and push papers all day long. Your boss wants to hear from you. He or she wants to know that you are actively contributing to your organization, and going above and beyond your job description. Ask to set aside a meeting time so you know you'll have his or her undivided attention to pitch your plan. If you're feeling nervous, rehearse with a friend (or even in front the mirror.)
3. Don't be afraid to disagree.
Be prepared to not receive a standing ovation for your idea. Your boss might have another idea in mind already, or they might feel like your idea could require too much extra work from the rest of the staff. At the same time, if you disagree with something, don't be afraid to voice your concerns. Use your research, data, and any anecdotes you may have to further prove your point.
4. Stay positive.
Even if you have the best idea in the world, most people don't like change. Keep your cool and try to keep your focus on how you want to move the organization forward, instead of complaining about what has happened in the past. If it's a big idea, break it down into small steps where change can be gradual, and tweaked as it progresses.
5. Take responsibility.
Like I said, people don't like change. This is the point in the plan where you have to take ownership over your idea. What are you going to do to implement this change? Maybe you start by pitching a pilot program, or creating a small task force. Show your boss that this is something you want to take on, not something that is going to be extra work for him or her. Further, if the idea fails (I hope it doesn't), you need to take ownership of that too.
Take comfort in knowing that I've never looked back on my career to reflect on what I learned from all of my successes. It was the stumbling blocks, failures, and trying moments that made me the CEO I am today.
What step will you take to bring your ideas to life? Let me know in the comments below!