You see a problem and you have a great solution. But, no one asked you for your opinion.
If you’re like many of the employees in our Courageous Cultures research, you might even be a bit nervous about speaking up, particularly if your boss wasn’t so receptive last time.
It’s tempting to assume that everyone else sees the issue. Or that the solution is obvious. But people are busy. And it’s quite possible your great solution hasn’t occurred to them.
How to Make Your Case For Your Great Solution
We often find when employees are frustrated that their great solution is not being heard, it’s because they could use a little help making the case.
Here’s a simple technique we use in our I.D.E.A. Inspiration rallies to help people share their best solutions and great ideas.
What do you want your boss (or another stakeholder) to think, do, or say as a result of your conversation? One of the things I often noticed in my executive roles at Verizon is that employees would often come to me with ideas, but wouldn’t have “an ask.”
“And here’s how you can help” or “Here’s the support I need from you” makes it easy for your boss to respond.
Before you go into the conversation, write down your top three ideas. Once the conversation gets going it’s so easy to forget your main strategic points. This will prevent the frustration of leaving the room and thinking, “AGGHHH I forgot to share one of my best selling points for this idea!”
Make sure you’ve done your homework. Find supporting evidence as to why your solution is important and doable. Consider the counter-arguments. Look for data and evidence that support your great solution. Find examples of where your solution is working elsewhere.
Engage other people who also think you have a great solution. Why would Joe in Finance support your idea? How about Laura in IT? Ask for their input to help sharpen your argument and build a stronger case. Sometimes hearing an idea from multiple perspectives is exactly what’s needed to get people’s attention.
What’s your best advice for helping employees position their best ideas and solutions?