You’ve got lots of ideas – some of them are truly brilliant. Unfortunately, however, you have a boss who just can’t seem to ignore your ideas fast enough. It can be discouraging at best, and after a while you’re tempted to just stop trying.
There can be a lot of reasons why a boss doesn’t seem to pay attention to the suggestions of her employees. Sometimes he (she) is so preoccupied with his own ideas and stresses that he simply doesn’t have time or energy to give yours due consideration. Sometimes the context of your idea doesn’t fall high on his priority list. And the possibility always exists, of course, that your idea wasn’t nearly as brilliant as you thought it was. Whichever is the case, there is one strategy you can use that will increase the odds your boss will listen to you. It’s all in how you present it.
Imagine, for example, you’ve come up with a new way of processing orders which will save you and everyone in the department a tremendous amount of time. Which of these two approaches do you think your boss will respond to better:
A. Hey boss, I’ve got a great new idea for processing orders that I think we should try; or
B. Hey boss, I’ve got an idea that I think will save the company $50,000 this year!
The answer, of course, is “B.”
“A” tells him that you’ve come up with a new project to land on him already busy plate. “B” has a greater likelihood of hitting one of her hot buttons – saving money. The secret lies in thinking your idea through and quantifying the benefit of the idea into something which is meaningful to him. It you can put it into dollars and cents, all the better. When you present it to him, make sure that you present the benefits first. Once you’ve peaked his interest, then you can tell him how it works.
[This is from the Archive Project – where we are attempting to get 10 years of Winning at Work on the web! Original publication date: 27 September, 2004]
Shaun Belding is CEO of The Belding Group and has been consulting and speaking on customer experience, employee engagement and workplace performance for 23 years