There’s nothing more frustrating than having a great idea you can’t get off the ground… and there’s not much more embarrassing than someone FINALLY giving your idea a chance, you have the floor, and mush comes out of your mouth, you have no answers for their excellent questions; making you look like a fool in front of everyone, and no more idea sharing from you… ever! The truth is, there are many things worse than having an idea you can’t get started and many things more embarrassing than making a fool of yourself… but you get my point and there are lessons to be learned in every idea failure and unanswerable question! So, what are The 5 Keys to best share your idea; allowing your leadership peers and Higher-Ups to give it a chance?
- The Idea!
- The 4 Areas of Benefits!
- The Revenue Impact!
- The Implementation!
- The Trial Period!
This is self-explanatory, yet worth reviewing the initial Leader’s Idea. Obviously, we must first start by having an idea! You’ve experienced this… you work at a company and don’t like how something is going. Most employees will either gather to complain, gossip, and vent at some point throughout the day or you’ll do it in your own head… the point is, somewhere in there, you have ideas on how you’d do something better to improve the process. Or, you see gaps in a process or service and your idea is “The Filler” which makes things smoother, faster, and better.
Having the idea is only the start! Most people will leave it there and drudge on with their day and life only to grow more miserable by the minute. A Leader’s Idea suggests you share it like this, “Hi __________, do you have a minute? I have an idea I believe would help with ___________. I’d like to hear what you like about it and anything you’d fine-tune.”. Now it’s time to share the idea and follow-up with, “So, what do you like most, and is there anything you’d fine-tune?”.
Two things… it’s important to make someone say something good about your idea first. Second, “fine-tune” is a powerful word because it suggests your idea is already good and you’re willing to remove your ego and invite theirs in to help make it better!
The 4 Areas of Benefits!
Whatever your idea… if you haven’t thought of and cannot explain the four areas of benefit… your idea may not matter much! In ideal cases, when you share your idea, the whole organization will magically stop what they’re doing and have an intense and purposeful brainstorming session to explore the benefits of your idea and come to a conclusion of what’s best to do and when to roll it out! However, you know like I know… not many things work that perfectly! Therefore, be sure you know how your idea benefits these four areas:
- The Company – How does your idea enhance the company, the company’s reputation, the product/s, and/or the delivery of services?
- Leaders – How is your idea the medicine for your leader’s pain? Does your idea take something off your boss’s plate? Does it fix something they’re struggling with? Can your idea make them look GOOD to their boss and how?
- Employees – How does your idea help those under you that may be a part of implementing your idea and plan? How does it help to take something off their plate or streamline something they’re currently struggling with? How easy it for them to learn, implement, and use? Who’s going to teach it and train everyone (if necessary)?
- Customers/Clients – How does your idea benefit the customer/client; creating a better experience, improved service, or a smoother process?
The Revenue Impact!
I’ve seen many great ideas lose momentum and die due to revenue issues… either the idea will cost to much, not make enough, or funds have been allocated elsewhere and now’s not a good time. At the end of the day… money matters! Therefore, how does your idea:
- Add Revenue – Does your idea add to an already existing pot of money? If so, how? How much? By when?
- Create Revenue – Does your idea create a new pot of money? If so, how? How much? And by when?
- Save Revenue – Does your idea save the company money? If so, how? How much?
You may be thinking, this is a lot. The truth is, your idea may not have to go through this type of rigor. I’ve shared ideas when I was an employee, when I was in management, and as a leader of my own company and it was not always this structured or detailed right off the bat. However, there’s no harm in skipping down the rabbit hole a bit to have some general… or specific answers. Remember, Leaders don’t have to get ready because they’re already ready. Most people who wish for an opportunity are rarely ready when it knocks… that won’t be you!
When the idea is something you or your team will implement and manage, it’s important to know your company’s priorities and your authority span. Be mindful not to get yourself or your team in trouble as you successfully pull-off your idea but neglect other projects or duties of your job; benefiting your organization in one area but hurting them in another. Does your idea supersede existing duties or projects? Are they on the same playing field? Or, is your idea a side-project and supposed to be treated as such on your own time? Lastly, what’s your authority span regarding your idea? How much decision power do you have? Who is your “Check-With Person”?
If other departments are involved with the implementation of your idea… what do they need to know? Who’s providing it? Do they need training? If so, do you provide it, is it in-house, virtual, or outside the company? Who’s their “Check-With Person”? Lastly, what’s their authority span for decision-making… what decisions can they make before having to check in with you or their Check-With Person?
As I mentioned, you may share a great idea and have a great team willing to figure all of this out with you or take the reigns and evolve your idea past what you could have even imagined. A Leader’s Idea Too is simply taking you from beginning to end!
The Trial Period!
This final Key can be done throughout the beginning, the middle, or the end of sharing your idea. When you share an idea… the person you’re sharing it with often thinks you want whatever you’re asking for RIGHT NOW and FOREVER! Maybe you do, maybe you don’t… but it’s important to know, this is what THEY think! I experience this quite a bit when I have calls with companies about my services… after asking what they’d like to get out of bringing in someone like myself and we have a great conversation… I like to ask, when do you foresee rolling something like this out; now, in a couple of months, next year? I can see the weight come off their shoulders and they take a brief sigh of relief for several reasons. Perhaps most people in my field don’t ask, perhaps they were thinking I wanted to do it now, possible budget concerns as they were attempting to figure out the money and best timing.
The point is to ease the other person’s mind when sharing your idea. Share your idea, find out what they like and would fine-tune, be sure to skip down the rabbit hole a bit; being able to answer a few questions of the questions I shared… and if you have the ability to be involved in implementing “The Idea”… offer to lead it for 2, 3, 6 months to get it operational and productive. If it’s Benefiting, Impacting Revenue, Implementation is good… then, does it make sense to keep it going, grow it, or mimic it throughout the company? This helps take the pressure off your boss… as they know you’ll handle the idea, will prioritize it accordingly with your other duties, it can start now or later, it’s time-limited and up to be evaluated and tweaked as necessary, can be reviewed in already scheduled 1-on-1 Meetings, and with their minimal involvement has the potential to make them look good as a leader!
Remember, your company is not evil if they don’t take a risk with your idea. It may be impossible to do every employee’s idea that’s shared. They also have their Vision of the company and their Vision Factors (the 3-5 things that when they do them consistently their vision of success has to come true) to adhere to… and not every idea is aligned with that.
Recently, a great person and company reached out to me to offer their services and although their idea was great and made sense; it was outside of my Vision & Vision Factors. Being a Leader… I had to say “Not right now and we can revisit the opportunity in 6 months.”. When sharing your idea, you’ll find out a lot about your boss, your coworkers, and your organization. If their consistent response is something you can respect and understand… great! If not, read the writing on the wall, make a decision if this is the place for you or not, and stay professional whether you choose to stay or leave!
“Be mindful not to get yourself or your team in trouble as you successfully pull-off your idea but neglect other projects or duties of your job; benefiting your organization in one area but hurting them in another!” – Andre Young
Written by: Andre Young
Are you ready for more confident & competent leaders, enhanced connection with your teams, and a better work-culture? Click www.youevolvingnow.com for find out more… and to connect, chat, and customize with Andre Young to best impact your people with his high energy and interactive Leadership & Work/Life Harmony Trainings, Speaking Engagements, and more!!!