Success at Work : People Skills : Dealing with New Ideas

By: Stephen Bucaro

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Success at Work : People Skills : Dealing with New Ideas

By Stephen Bucaro

Re-organizing, re-engineering, re-training, down-sizing,
outsourcing, changing-changing-changing. Organizations
today think they need to be constantly changing or they
will perish. Corporate leaders worship at the alter of new
ideas where the motto is, "Any new idea is a good idea".

Every organization operates based on work-flow and
processes. The reason the current processes are in effect
is because over the years, many different ways of doing
things have been tried, and the organization adapted the
current processes because they work.

There's nothing wrong with new ideas. Business conditions
are always changing. New competitors appear, new
regulations are enacted, and new technologies become
available. The smart organization needs to adjust and
innovate. But here's the problem - 99 percent of all new
ideas don't work.

- If you want to be successful at work, you have to learn
how to handle a constant barrage of new ideas and the
chaotic work environment that results.

New Ideas from the Corporate Board Room

The most destructive new ideas come from the Board Room.
A corporate executive has an idea. He knows that 99
percent of new ideas, even his ideas, won't work. He
proposes the idea in order to receive feedback from the
managers. Instead of pointing out flaws in the executive's
idea, managers heads start bobbing.

No one has the courage to tell the executive that his idea
won't work. In fact, each manager is thinking to themselves,
"I'm going to MAKE his idea work and get some browny points."

There are three reasons why most new ideas from the
corporate board room don't work.

1. People at the executive level get all their information
from "head bobbing" managers. At the executive level,
reality is replaced by political fantasy.

2. They produce one-size-fits-all solutions. Most new ideas
don't work when they have to accommodate the complexity of
reality.

3. Rather than taking time to study an idea, managers
begin immediate implementation.

After all, the way all
those managers heads were bobbing, the idea must be great.

When your job is affected by an idea passed down from
management, DO NOT respond by saying "that won't work".
Managers have a built-in filter that converts the phrase
"that won't work" to "I have a bad attitude". If you have
a reason why the idea won't work, say it this way, "How
does that work with (reason why the idea won't work)".

Saying it that way, you have not rejected the idea. In fact,
you may have given the manager an opportunity to fix a
problem before it arises. If you see a problem with an idea
and you provide a solution to that problem, you will be
considered a great team player.

New Ideas from Co-workers

If a co-worker approaches you with an idea that varies from
the company's policies and procedures, don't respond by
approving or disapproving the idea. Say this, "that's an
interesting idea. Check with the supervisor/manager before
doing things that way. Until then, we should follow the
current procedure."

- Almost all mistakes made by a business are the result of
an employee deciding to do things THEIR WAY rather than
follow the company's procedures. To eliminate mistakes,
a company must fully document and vigorously enforce all
policies and procedures. Workers must follow the company's
procedures.

Because the workers actually know what's going on in the
company, they are in a position to produce good ideas.
Unfortunately, their ideas are often only ways to make
THEIR job easier by shifting their work to another person
or department.

If your supervisor/manager asks for your input on a
co-worker's idea, don't respond by saying "that won't work"
or by criticizing the idea. When you criticize a co-worker's
idea, you criticize the co-worker. You will step on the
co-workers ego and probably create an enemy. Instead,
respond by asking questions about the idea in a way that
implies that you might not fully understand the idea. For
example, ask "how does that work with (reason why the idea
won't work)".

- If the co-worker's idea won't work, don't be surprised
if the manager approves it anyway. There are several
reasons why a manager will approve a bad idea. Sometimes
the manager wants to let the worker learn for themself why
the idea won't work. Sometimes a bad idea is approved in
order to pacify the employee. Sometimes it's because the
manager doesn't have a clue how things work in their own
department.

- Most ideas start out stupid and eventually die (until
some fool brings it up again a year later). But about one
percent of ideas receive some study and get modified until
they actually work.

Handling Rejection of Your Own Ideas

A good employee is always thinking of ways to improve their
job and their company. Bosses like workers who take the
initiative to solve problems. Companies need all the ideas
they can get. But the fact remains that statistically 99
percent of all ideas don't work, and that includes YOUR
ideas.

When your boss and coworkers point out the reasons why your
idea won't work, don't feel they are criticizing you
personally. They are criticizing the IDEA, not YOU. No
matter how unworkable the idea turns out, you are still to
be credited with producing the idea.

- If your manager rejects your idea, don't be surprised if
later they present the same or a similar idea as their own.
In any organization, no matter who takes the credit,
everyone always knows where an idea really came from.
Eventually you will receive the recognition you deserve.

Statistically, 99 percent of all ideas don't work. But
that doesn't mean you shouldn't keep thinking of ways to
improve your job, your company, and your company's product.
It's not the GETTING of ideas that's bad, It's the
implementing of ideas without doing the required studies -
that's bad. One in a hundred ideas DO workPsychology Articles, and occasionally
that one idea will generate millions of dollars of savings
or revenue for the company.

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