Many young people working in the corporate sector have innovative, big ideas that can bring substantial change in their organizations and even in the world. The barriers they come across are equally large.

An entry-level employee had limited connections and leverage, unable to make any big decisions. Those having power and status in the organization have their own beliefs and assumptions, apart from the usual arrogance of position. Often these powerful people are causing roadblocks.

To get over this challenge, we need to work with those in power, making them listen and believe in us.

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@ryan_rvv

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How to Get Your Big Ideas Noticed By the Right People

hbr.org

We need to look at the kind of idea we plan to propose and figure out who would have the power to implement the same. Study the power dynamics of your company using the RACI matrix:

  1. Responsible: People in charge of completing a task or activity.
  2. Accountable: People signing off work and giving approval.
  3. Consulted: People giving input to the group getting the work done.
  4. Informed: People waiting for updates on the status, and on the decisions getting made.

We need the person with decision making power, and that is often divided among a small group of people in high positions.

Executives having decision-making powers also look for engagement initiatives, peer support and market data before making a final decision.

After the decision-maker is identified, we need to find a ‘champion’, mostly a middle-level employee who can bring your ideas and thoughts to high-level meetings that you may not be invited to.

If the idea is small, the problem may be solved easily, but if it is a large, disruptive idea, we may need someone who has power and influence over those in high positions.

We may first need to build trust in our chosen champion, making him or her respect you as a professional, and believe in your credibility.

Before pitching the idea to our champion, we need to stress-test it, creating a robust pitch that does not have holes or logic gaps.

One can gather feedback from multiple stakeholders or someone in the team which is directly impacted by the proposal.

Stakeholders may add or subtract from our pitch as they have access to certain information that may not be available to us.

Pitch the idea to the champion with a clear objective, purpose and a strong backing of numbers and evidence. Identify the audience and how they are going to pay attention(which is costly in today’s world) to the new-fangled idea. Focus less on theory and more on implementation.

Once the idea is pitched to the champion, we would either get a thumbs up or we won’t. 

  • If this hurdle is cleared, work towards how to present the idea to the big guys, which is now the champion’s job. Work with someone who has access to the schedules of the senior management.
  • If the idea didn’t go well with the champion, work with them to know what went wrong and how we can pivot the concept.

Navigating through all the obstacles to get your idea to the big guys isn’t a cakewalk, and patience is key here. What may help you is:

  1. Careful Observation.
  2. Smart Communication.
  3. Active Listening.
  4. Strategic decision-making.
  5. Persistence.

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