The situation: You recognized a gap at your company – perhaps you noticed that a department is doing double data entry, or that customer requests are taking exponentially longer to resolve. You need to act quickly to address this growing issue.
Congratulations! You are well on your way to becoming a Change Agent at your company. This is a position of great responsibility and potential. As a change agent, you will help define the future of the organization with your insights. You will ultimately make a difference at your company.
However, you’re not quite there yet. You still need to make a difference. But you’ve got an idea, and all you need now is buy-in.
Do you need to push an initiative up the chain of command and get buy-in from your company’s leadership? Here are 3 techniques you can use to show others your innovative idea needs to be addressed now.
1. Lead with a sense of urgency
The success of your business is measured by how well you adapt to the new technology and trends across your industry. Getting a favorable decision depends on creating urgency and leading with the importance of change.
Help your leaders understand why it is important and necessary to make a change and the benefits of doing so. Build a business case. Show them what will happen if things stay the same. More importantly, show them what opportunities will be created if things do change.
2. Help your leaders think through the change
“Hold on, let’s consider every little thing first.”
“Can we hold off for a few months?”
Humans, by nature, are creatures of habit. Change is hard. It’s especially hard to accept when you can’t predict the small ins and outs of a transformational decision. This is pretty much what your business leaders feel when you approach them with your idea.
It is your business leaders’ responsibility to anticipate how their decisions will affect the company. Delays usually occur because of one of these reasons:
- They can’t see the big picture benefits and challenges that you can.
- They don’t have the bandwidth to consider your idea and think it through right now.
To help ease into a decision, come up with a rough idea of what your leaders can expect.
- How much time will you spend on it?
- How much time can they plan to spend on this change?
- Can you set milestones and due dates for this change?
- What roadblocks do you foresee?
- Who can you ask for help?
Having these answers prepared will help make it easier for your team to say yes.
3. Emphasize “benefits” over “feature”
Features describes what something “means.” Benefits describe what something “does.” For example, Microsoft’s single-sign on (SSO) is a feature of using its Office 365. Users can access their documents, emails, cloud drives, etc. with the same login information. The benefit of SSO is security. If someone doesn’t know your password, they can’t get access.
Benefits are tangible and universal, while features may only be useful to the end user. Your decision makers want to know why your idea will make a difference to the organization. Quantify the effects for your decision makers. This is where you show them the benefits, in terms they can understand:
- Can you come up with numbers or metrics to emphasize the benefits?
- Can you drastically improve a process to help increase revenue or productivity?
- Can you eliminate unnecessary work through automation?
The best jobs and the best projects you will have will be the ones you invent – the ones that probably don’t even exist yet. Finding the strength to pursue these ideas require creativity, courage, and endurance. You’ve already demonstrated these traits: you found this idea, and you are passionate enough to begin finding a solution.You have the power within yourself to influence and create change. It starts with these 3 steps.
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