Working for a large corporation has many perks. The credibility, stability and ability to make a large scale impact keep you coming back to the office every day — but of course, every job can have drawbacks. What happens when you notice an ingrained process causing lost productivity with little upside? A new and emerging technology that could help either your team or your clients?
Usually, it’s unclear who you should talk to when it comes to these new ideas. And even if you manage to get some initial positive feedback, or a response at all, it’s hard to get actual organizational momentum towards implementation without making the project your full-time job.
You can’t do it alone.
Enacting meaningful change towards the “new” within an organization takes a huge amount of communication with key stakeholders. This includes everybody from senior executives to the internal teams who will have to get on board with your idea. Next time you want to bring forward an exciting change within your organization, keep these guidelines re: stakeholder relationships in mind:
1. Leadership buy-in is essential to push forward any new agenda.
Keep your eyes out for open-minded executives who have the tendency to try interesting ideas and who appear to engage with, and listen to, non-executives within the organization. Develop rapport with these executives. This way, when you have an idea you’d like to push forward, you already have a foot in the door. If he or she already trusts you then you’re a step ahead when getting him or her to champion your plans.
2. Communicate your goal and the progress towards it to the larger organization to help alleviate concerns.
The biggest obstacle to disrupting the status quo is the fear of failure. People are afraid that if you attempt to fix something that isn’t absolutely, undeniably broken, then the risk of progress is too high. Mitigate fears by keeping success records and making sure the rest of the organization is privy to these wins as well. Keeping people informed along the way will help you easily defeat fears that could hold you back otherwise.
3. Engage with internal teams that will be affected by new initiatives early in the process.
Most people are uncomfortable with change. It’s not because they fear change, it’s because they fear loss. Helping your colleagues understand what they can gain from new initiatives is key to the success of new changes. Sure, there may be some less-attractive elements related to the change, but it’s important to identify and communicate how the new initiative is better for them overall. As soon as your proposal gets off the ground, make sure you keep everyone who’s going to be impacted in the loop. There will be a lot less pushback from team members if they feel involved in the process and are prepared for how their role may change.
A good idea is only an idea if it isn’t implemented properly. Within any large organization, fighting for change will inevitably lead to some pushback. However, keeping the above ideas in mind as you bring your suggestions live will not only reduce backlash, but open up meaningful channels of collaboration as well.
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