Many of us have experienced the disappointment of coming up with a monster idea at work — only to have it shot down by the big boss. This is frustrating on many levels.
Because we took the time to work on a new idea at our workplace, doesn’t that demonstrate our willingness to go the extra mile for them?
Upper management is constantly asking for more innovation. And they want us to take more risks, yet they reject our innovation when it is offered?
Does management say these things because encouraging “employee innovation” is the newest business trend at the moment?
Step Back and Change Your Perspective
To be honest, management has legitimate reasons for shooting down our ideas. Most of those reasons are due to a lack of awareness on our part.
Let’s face it, when we get a great idea, we are overwhelmed by a flurry of good intentions.
We visualize how our idea is going to solve problems. We think about how our colleagues will benefit from our idea. And how we are team players by helping out our company. How great is that?
These are all good feelings to have, but most of our focus should be through the eyes of company management.
How is our idea going to affect their duties and requirements? What changes will be needed and how quickly can they be implemented?
We should ask these kinds of questions from the start because these are among the first ones we will have to answer.
Let us examine four (4) real reasons our ideas get ignored.
1) Our Ideas Disturb the Routine
Managers are happiest when things are running smoothly and the routine is being followed. Whenever we bring them a new idea, they see this as a new problem — and they already have plenty of problems.
In their mind, our idea means disturbing a productive environment for God knows how long. It means retraining personnel, and it means writing new procedures.
2) Our Ideas Ignore the Big Picture
A common complaint among company managers regarding those people who are full of ideas is “they have no clue what it takes to run our organization.”
This means that our ideas can hurt our credibility with upper management if we fail to look at the big picture.
Too many times, we push our ideas without thinking about how it is going to affect daily operations. We must consider how other departments will be affected.
We should answer questions like:
- How much will it cost?
- Will we need to hire more people?
- How will customers be affected?
- Will production be stopped?
3) Our Ideas are Too Complicated
Pushing ideas that are too complex is very common. We tend to overthink situations and then overkill them with our solutions.
Not only that, but we are also so eager to make an impression on management that we go a little overboard.
Ever heard the saying “less is more”?
This means that simpler solutions are usually the best ones. People understand them quickly and they are easier to streamline.
If our ideas have too many moving parts, they are sure to be rejected.
4) Our Ideas are Not Useful
A new idea must be able to blend into the current situation. Ideas are most useful when they easily merge into existing activities — much like a freeway ramp that allows new traffic onto a busy highway.
Never forget that few ideas are ever worth disrupting an entire operation. The usefulness of your idea is determined by how quickly it can be implemented and put to use.
Whenever our creativity and innovation accounts for the concerns of everyone involved, they are more likely to be embraced.
Even if our new idea gets rejected, if we sincerely addressed and anticipated the concerns of management, they will remember and appreciate our efforts. This will make them more receptive to our next great idea.