Stress-Free Ways of Taking on a New Project at Work

The Origin of Stress

Stress is a state which developed during our early evolution to keep us alive.  When a situation presents a potential threat to our survival, we express the hormone cortisol (made in the adrenal cortex) which helps raise our blood sugar levels partly by suppressing the function of insulin, so that we are ready for action (fight or flight).

It prepares the way for the release of adrenaline if there is an actual emergency.  To maximize available energy, it also turns off our immune system, stops bone-growth, activates anti-inflammatory pathways, making us more vulnerable to disease.

Stress Free Ways of Taking on New Work Projects - Red writing_STRESS

Aren’t all these things bad, you ask?  Not for the brief period that they are meant to be activated, no, they’re just fine.

The problem arises when we are always stressed, constantly producing cortisol, because it makes us weaker and increases our tendency to get tired or sick more easily. Too much cortisol also results in proteolysis, or the breakdown of protein in our bodies (muscle mass), when we can’t keep our blood sugar elevated.

In our modern society, there is little need for stress anymore.  Most of us live relatively safe lives, not hunted by animals, with sufficient food, acceptable medical care, clean water, and proper sanitation.  Frequently unsatisfied with how good our lives are, we often create artificial stress for ourselves with deadlines and pressure.

We deal with stress in different ways.  Some thrive on it; others collapse under the weight; some forbid it.  We must step back for a moment and determine if our stress is making us sick; if it is burning us out; if it is robbing us of our quality of life.

Stress Free Ways of Taking on New Work Projects - Busy female employee at desk

Responsibility

If your boss hands you a new project and says, “Pick your team members and let’s get this show on the road!” you might be a bit nervous.  Before you become hypercritical of yourself, just stop and think for a moment about why you were chosen.

Does your boss want you to fail and then have to explain your failure to bosses higher up?  No.  The most probable answer is that your boss has confidence in you, likely based on previous work or some ability you’ve demonstrated, and fully expects you to succeed.  Stress factor: zero.

Pick Smart People

Maybe it’s a new area for you, and you’re worried about your ability.  Remember, you’re creating a team, so pick people that have the talents required for the project.

You’re not there to do all the work yourself; you are there to manage the team.  You must choose people with different skills than yours; create a talent-range, so all the bases are covered.  A wise person selects people with skills beyond their own because if they are less capable than you, you’ll never accomplish anything better than what you can do right now.  Stress factor: zero.

Pre-planning

You can eliminate most worries about a project by speaking to those involved before the project starts.  That includes the team members you’ve selected, of course, but it also includes the stakeholders.  Everyone has constraints, whether they are ability, availability, responsiveness, technique, integration, or something else entirely.

Find out who can do what, areas where individuals excel, who they work best with, and scheduling conflicts.  Identify tasks clearly and delegate appropriately, with milestones for each task.

Consistency and Support

Once a schedule is created, your people must understand the interdependencies, and although it is possible to adjust for slippage, the expectation is that all work will be completed on time.  Don’t forget to make it clear that your door is open, and if something is falling behind, you want to know about it right away.

Emphasize that help is available and you’re willing to commit resources to a problem to get it back on track.  You do not want to know one day before something is due that it’s going to be delayed by four days.  Make sure they understand that you are willing to pitch in if someone is in a tight spot.

Assuming an Existing Project

Being asked to take on a project that is already underway is a good indicator that you are a trusted team member.  It can also be a daunting experience because you’re faced with the task of taking on processes and policies which are already in place.

First of all, don’t jump in with both feet!  Take an hour or two to read through the details of the project.  Review the Project Calendar, Project Schedule, Gantt chart or whatever methodology has been selected, and understand the current status.  Write down questions you need to be answered as you are reviewing (so they’re not forgotten).

Call in someone from the team who is likely to have the answers you need.  Question them to fill in the blanks in your knowledge.  Perhaps speak to more than one person, if warranted.

After you are up-to-speed, consider having a stand-up meeting and invite people to tell you about their current status.  There is no need to issue orders at this point, to establish authority.  Take your time to get comfortable; people expect a certain margin of error before you are integrated.  The only person holding you to an exceptional mistake-free standard is you.  Stress factor: zero.

Stress Free Ways of Taking on New Work Projects - Group of professionals working at laptop

The Takeaway

Team members will support you if you support them.  It’s simply common sense: If you trust your people, they will trust you.

If your team is managing their responsibilities well, if they’re making their deliveries on time, or even early, reward them.  It can be individually, or collectively.  It might be something as simple as sending them and a spouse out for a fancy restaurant meal or letting them leave the office as soon as the work is done.

When people know you’re a “good boss” they will work harder for you; they’ll produce top quality material because they seek your approval and want to encourage you to continue to also be a “good boss”; they will want to keep working for you.  They’re being paid to accomplish tasks, not to sit at their desk until 5 pm, despite having completed all of their work.

Being a good boss leads to a stress-free existence because people will trust you to deal with problems.  They won’t be reluctant to tell you about something going awry.  That means you get a great deal of leeway to deal with problems when they are tiny and easy to fix.  And that makes it all worthwhile…  Stress factor: zero!

More from Stewart Cooper & CoonBoss Redefined: What Makes a Great Modern Business Leader

 

Fred Coon, CEO

Take your job search and LinkedIn profile to new levels and achieve your career goals with LinkedInSecrets.us. Leveraging LinkedIn for Job Search Success 2015 will transform how you use LinkedIn on a daily basis and create a profile that will WOW recruiters and hiring managers.

What Employees Should Know About Team Transfers

Whether voluntary or not, change in any capacity poses its challenges.  Nevertheless, alterations in our routine are certain to generate opportunities for development and expansion of knowledge.

In the workplace, we may choose to stay within our comfort zones; even preferring to trade a chance at professional growth for an existing sense of security.  However, quite commonly, we eventually reach a point where change is not only imminent, but necessary in order to begin the next chapter in our career. For those who are not quite ready to re-enter the job market, this next step may simply include transferring to a new team within their current organization. Thus, following some basic steps will make the shift significantly less taxing.

Team-Transfers-Male-Employee-at-desk-in-office.jpg

Author and career content writer, Ryan Galloway, cites the valuable advice of Stephanie Linker, member of the global investment management corporation, BlackRock. It is there she lead a team responsible for event and mobile technology and even launched the company’s first mobile app.  After several years in this role, Linker knew she was ready to take on more responsibility, which soon characterized the next stage of her career.

1.  Build a sense of familiarity.

Linker recommends making the effort to meet as many individuals on various teams within your organization. Building and/or fine-tuning your own personal brand, while asking the right questions and seeking mentorship when necessary, will help provide the foundation you need to enter the next phase in your career. Linker suggests workers aim to gain insight on a team’s most significant needs and challenges, as well as working and leadership styles.

2.  Clearly – but carefully – express your intentions.

Galloway quotes Linker who affirms, “Communication is key when considering an internal move. How you convey the message that you’d like to work on another team can mean the difference between a smooth transition and messy break-up”. Expand upon the formally scheduled meetings and performance reviews, but refrain from directly asking for a transfer right away. Rather, focus on communicating your interest in the team with which you’d like to work, as well as your eagerness to gain knowledge on a larger portion of the company. Once it’s time to make the shift, the process will seem more natural, creating less static during the process.

3.  Consider your choices.

Before entirely committing to their pursuit, employees must ask themselves some fundamental questions regarding their potential transfer. These questions should include 1) whether the role will offer a sufficient level of challenge, 2) if it will help you grow professionally, 3) how it will fit within your lifestyle, 4) whether you will be gaining new skills or maximizing current ones, and 5) what you will be giving up by transferring to another team.

4.  Never “burn your bridges”.

Remaining on good terms with former team members is always recommended, but unlike starting a brand new job, a transfer means that you are still basically maintaining the same group of colleagues and coworkers. While your direct daily connections will change, you may still be dealing with the members of your former team on some level. Showing that you continue to be a supportive part of the whole will ease any tension as you learn to define your new role with new team members.

Team-Transfers-Group-of-office-professionals.jpg

Conclusion

As a final word, Linker offers the following advice to employees pondering the option of a team transfer: “You’ve got to ask for what you want. If you see a place where you can add value, you’ve got to raise your hand. No one’s going to hand you your next opportunity.” And we couldn’t agree more.

 

Fred Coon, CEO

 

Stewart, Cooper & Coon, has helped thousands of decision makers and senior executives move up in their careers and achieve significantly improved financial packages within short time frames. Contact Fred Coon – 866-883-4200, Ext. 200

Helpful Tips For Composing a Difficult Email

While no one ever wants to be the bearer of bad news, there are times when we must compose a difficult or even “harsh” email. Whether it be sharing honest feedback, a differing opinion, or informing a colleague of a mistake; these instances which may not quite warrant a phone call or personal meeting, are still worthy of a properly written message.

male hands working with laptop computer

Often, however, even the most harmless words can be misinterpreted in written form, so naturally those conveying criticism of any kind have the potential to create more unnecessary tension between you and the recipient.

Preventing fallout is the goal when sending a hard email, yet fortunately, Sara McCord, professional advisor, writer, and career contributor, has offered some valuable guidelines for composing those difficult emails.

Line one: Start with a friendly opener.

McCord states, “When you’re writing the opening line (after the salutation that is), it can be helpful to imagine it’s a conversation. If someone walked up to you and dove right into their point, you’d be put off.” Often it’s something as simple and obvious as “Hope you enjoyed your weekend” or “How are you today?” that can get the message off to a good start.

Line two: Thank your recipient.

When appropriate, recognize your reader’s efforts. In short, always acknowledge the positive before the negative. Thanking your recipient for their efforts, time, work or thoughts on the issue at hand, can help to soften the impact of the rest of your message.

Line three: Show that you understand your reader’s perspective.

Of course, you don’t want to waste too much time before getting to the main idea, but pointing out a possible strength within the recipient’s work, standpoint, or input, will help them keep an open mind to the actual point you are trying to make. As an example, McCord suggests, “…you might tell a direct report that you can see how the strategy they implemented would help the team operate better [or] you might tell a colleague they did a great job addressing the client’s main concern”. However, what is important here is to keep your comments honest and sincere, as most people notice when they’re being “softened up” for something negative. Also, be sure to keep the praise related to the issue at hand, and don’t overdo it to the point where your main message becomes muddled in the process.

Main body of email: Provide structured explanation.  

While you may feel that your recipient does not particularly care to read the details of why you are heading in a different direction, in actuality, it shows your reader that you have enough respect for their input and intelligence when you do provide ample explanation. Nevertheless, you do want to avoid over-elaborating on the problem, so try to keep your sentences as clear and concise as possible. McCord suggests the examples, “We decided to go a different direction because we needed a strategy that prioritized cost-effectiveness, due to budget constraints”; or perhaps, “… I’d love to see [these] changes carried through other aspects of the presentation because we’d like them to be consistent”. If you are offering multiple changes, McCord advises the use of bullet points to clearly delineate your ideas. However, the key is to include the reasons for your change in each sentence. In this case, budget constraints and/or consistency throughout a presentation are the desired results.

Concluding line:  Offer your assistance.

McCord advises that, as the writer, you should “[always] end by asking if you could clarify anything or answer any questions”. While it’s commonplace to remind the reader to contact you with any questions, there is an important purpose for including those words. Ending your email simply with your critique provides a very one-sided approach to the subject. Offering your help, not only shows your concern with the reader’s response, but also upholds a collaborative spirit wherein you convey the message that you plan to solve the issue together.

Of course, the sign-off consisting of a simple “thank you”, “best”, or “sincerely”, is all you need for a closing.

Subject Line: Choose words carefully

While the subject line is reliant upon the content of the email, you should still keep the tone non-confrontational and constructive. Some even suggest that for emails of this type, avoiding words like “urgent” is a good idea. Also, be sure not to offer too much information directly from the body of the message in the subject line.

Email Envelope On Mobile Showing One Message Received

Integrating these tips the next time you must compose a difficult or potentially negative email may just make the experience less uncomfortable for both you and your recipient.

Further reading:  The Importance of Skilled Business Writing

 

Fred Coon, CEO

Stewart, Cooper & Coon, has helped thousands of decision makers and senior executives move up in their careers and achieve significantly improved financial packages within short time frames. Contact Fred Coon – 866-883-4200, Ext. 200

What Should Employees Never Discuss at Work?

There is a marked difference between tiptoeing around an office of eggshells and being blatantly, even obnoxiously, offensive. In most cases, that line is pretty wide and not terribly difficult to manage. Granted, there are certain areas where words get muddled or a misunderstanding occurs, however, generalities aside, there are pretty clear markers on what is, and what is not, acceptable workplace conversation.

Even for those with the best of intentions and quality social skills, there looms a danger that occasionally just happens: the dreaded miscommunication. While most often not anyone’s actual fault, the best strategy for managing this is one of containment: Disengage, do damage control, and be liberal with apologies as called for within the particular situation. Certain individuals, especially within a professional setting, can seem prone to not only take offense, but doggedly hold on to it. The best advice is to make your position of an honest mistake clear; things may be slightly awkward for a time, but it beats an open ticket with HR any day.

Two smart businesswomen discussing ideas at the table in the office

Having covered a few generalities, we’ll now go on to compile a more specific list of common, and easily recognizable, subjects to handily avoid in the workplace.

The List

Let’s discuss a few of the following items, taking a moment to go into a little bit of exposition even though many may seem ubiquitously obvious.

  • ANY Political or Religious Topic: This one is right on the edge of such common knowledge that they hardly bear mentioning. We do so, however, to say this: Political issues aren’t limited to actual politics. It can easily encompass any degree of social or economic issues, even the most seemingly innocuous.
  • Money: Discussing your individual financial arrangement with the company, be it right-to-work or contracted, is generally considered extremely taboo, justified by an attempt to circumvent conflict within the ranks.
  • The Compulsive Contrarian: Many offices have that one individual who, despite the topic or subject, simply can’t speak positively about virtually anything. Do yourself (and the company) a favor and don’t be one of these people. Moreover, do your best to avoid engaging in conversations with these types individuals as well.

Now that we’ve covered the primary trifecta, here is a short-fire list for further consideration:

  • Personal life “drama”
  • Relationship details and sexuality
  • Personal orientations
  • Gossiping about the boss and/or other coworkers

Group of business partners communicating at meeting in office

Covering the Bases

The plain fact is that poorly considered conversations have the potential to genuinely harm your career. Regardless of the legitimacy (or even maturity) of the resulting fallout reactions, you really have to ask yourself if it’s worth it. Is the risk worth the expression? Most often, the answer will be a resounding “no”.

Conversely, the end result of this culture of personal and professional preservation may potentially result in something of a lifeless-feeling workplace, with you and your coworkers hesitant to genuinely open up and make any real connections. How to balance this equation is a task that’s going to be relative to you, specifically, and your particular environment. In the end, only the individual can really assess the ins and outs of their own professional culture, determining what is and what is not acceptable.

Our advice is to proceed with caution. A single unintended misstep can have repercussions that can last a lifetime.

Further reading:  Tips For Being a Great Coworker

 

Fred Coon, CEO

Stewart, Cooper & Coon, has helped thousands of decision makers and senior executives move up in their careers and achieve significantly improved financial packages within short time frames. Contact Fred Coon – 866-883-4200, Ext. 200

Proactive Ways to Deal With Challenging Colleagues

An important part of life is learning to adapt to some of the more difficult tendencies and idiosyncrasies of others. While in our personal life, we have the freedom to surround ourselves with individuals with whom we find ourselves most compatible; it is the workplace where we find we must continuously exercise our skill to adjust and accommodate.

Businessman listening to a colleague

Sometimes the challenge may be an opposing work-style or simply a communication problem.  Luckily, most of these situations can be rectified, if you learn to recognize it early enough.  It’s also crucial that we remain aware of our own quirks and foibles as well, without automatically assuming the fault lies only with others.

Related:  Tips for Being a Great Coworker

However, there are times where an issue involving a coworker grows troubling and persistent enough that it deserves active attention.  Here, we will explore some of the obstacles that team members may encounter among one other, as well as the most practical ways of handling the resulting circumstances.

Demanding Colleagues – If you are a conscientious employee, you are certainly willing to lend a hand to a colleague in need from time to time.  Yet, if you find yourself assisting this same colleague to the point where you are running short on time for your own projects – or if your coworker is consequently receiving kudos for assignments that you essentially completed for them – this is the time to set clear limits.  The simple resolution is to explain that you are behind in your own responsibilities the next time this coworker requests your assistance, and nicely propose that they touch base with another team member for help. By employing this approach, you are not only reminding your coworker of the importance of your own job (of which they likely lost sight), but also offering them a broad, yet viable alternative.

Confrontational Colleagues – If responsible debates continually escalate to personal attacks, you may be dealing with a confrontational coworker.  Rather than aiming to solve the issue at hand, these employees are more focused on proving you wrong.  Deliberations that turn personal are simply not tolerated in the workplace.  Rather than altogether ceasing from sharing your ideas, attempt to redirect the discussion solely to the topic at hand, and away from the ego.  This can be achieved by avoiding phrases such as “You are wrong,” or “You are misinformed on this topic”.  If this approach is unsuccessful, trying speaking in private with the coworker to evaluate how you may resolve your differences going forward.  However, if this coworker has upper management connections, it may be best to keep your distance, rather than risk a dispute that may affect opportunities for advancement down the road.  In instances where all tactics have failed, incorporate HR or a direct supervisor to help you handle the situation.

Competitive Colleagues – While the majority of our work associates may be supportive of our achievements, we sometimes encounter a coworker whose sense of competition and drive for success overshadows all else.  While a healthy sense of ambition is laudable, competitive colleagues can sometimes border on hostile toward other successful coworkers.  It’s best to reduce your number of interactions with these types of colleagues, if at all possible.  If you must work closely with a competitive coworker, keep conversations light, maintaining focus on the task at hand, rather than issues that may trigger negative emotions.  Also, portraying your own encouragement of your coworker’s achievements may prompt a more amiable response.  If no other methods succeed, and you feel your productivity is being hindered, speak to HR or your direct supervisor.

Dominating Colleagues — Although a company leader or superior does have influence over your job, a dominating colleague or coworker only perceives to have this influence.  Workers who aim to dominate or oppress their coworkers must be dealt with from the beginning.  The key is to remind this type colleague that you are both within the same professional ranking, and deserving of the same level of respect.  If a dominating colleague attempts to use intimidation tactics, don’t lose your cool, but instead protect yourself by peacefully reminding them that you do not agree with their actions.  If it is not possible for you to create enough physical space between yourself and this colleague, try imagining your own personal barricade to mentally guard against intimidation.  Keeping a running log of your communications with this coworker will also prove beneficial should you need to present the issue to a supervisor or HR.

Implementing Strategies

While these are some of the most common concerns that often arise among colleagues in the workplace, there are, unfortunately, a wide and varied range of intolerances that employees must learn to counterbalance.  Often, those who are ill-treating you may not necessarily realize the gravity of their actions; and those who are aware, may not actually expect you to speak up or seek supportive resources. In fact, there may be circumstances where it’s best to not respond and reflect on what is actually happening.  Is the problem endemic to the office or is it focused specifically on you?  Are there others who may be victims as well?  These are some of the factors which will change your response options.

Nevertheless, plotting and arranging an effective defense strategy – whether through pre-composed statements or by incorporating the assistance of your company’s leaders and human resource department – will assist you in your efforts to diffuse any persistently negative situations.

Businesswoman in a meeting with a colleague

The Takeaway

The key to solving problems is being able to see both sides of the issue, approaching it in a professional manner, and being civil.  There will always be injustices and you’ll not always get the credit you are due.  Ultimately, however, if you make it a policy to always over-deliver, to put the team first, and help others be great, you’ll have the respect of your peers and a success you deserve.

 

Fred Coon, CEO

Stewart, Cooper & Coon, has helped thousands of decision makers and senior executives move up in their careers and achieve significantly improved financial packages within short time frames. Contact Fred Coon – 866-883-4200, Ext. 200

Have You Chosen the Wrong Job? How to Recover and get Back on Track

Do you go to work simply because that’s the expectation both from yourself and from your employer?  Are you perplexed at the thought that there are those who enjoy going to work each day?  While it’s true that only a small percentage of people truly love their jobs, and would happily do it even without any pay, about 30 percent of us manage to garner some satisfaction from our daily work.

Job Target Shows Employment Occupation Profession

It’s Easier to Hate than Love

While it has been said that 70 percent of all people “hate” their jobs, this can be somewhat misleading.  More believable, is the statistic that approximately 20 percent of the workforce is actively disengaged from their job, and the remaining 50 percent are just muddling through, feeling unappreciated, unrewarded, and undervalued.

In a sense, “hating your job” alleviates a certain amount of pressure; it deceptively “relieves” you of the responsibility of having to perform at peak levels; you no longer feel as if you have to put forth a stellar effort because no one will care or notice.  Unfortunately, disengaged employees often feel as though they can “drop off the radar” and let someone with a higher profile handle the criticism for underperformance.

Why would you do that?

In the “olden days” we arose, worked our fields, possibly stopped at midday for a crust of bread and some water, and continued until dusk.  We returned to our rude huts, ate our one meal of the day, and went to bed.  The next day consisted of the same drill, and so on.  We survived/existed, and that was all.

Then, the Industrial Revolution came along.  Jobs became more productive; goods became more available and diverse; and, finally, we developed “leisure time”.  Some people became specialists; they became artisans such as blacksmiths, leather workers, and candle makers, and their value to society increased.

Workers began to see what it was like to experience success within their chosen line of work; they had increased expectations and took on apprentices, and their learners had increased expectations, too.  Expansion and success created the business/shopkeeper class, but largely, most people persisted in “survival mode” for many centuries.

Cometh the Dawn

People have always had ambition toward their jobs, hoping to improve their lot and sometimes expending extraordinary effort to accomplish just that.  Yet, up until the last two decades, it was never the responsibility of the employer to generate job satisfaction for the employees.

In fact, the truth is, it technically still isn’t.  In order to hang onto significant talent some companies are making an effort (for some employees) to make their job rewarding.  In so doing, they manage to retain them with the company for as long as possible.  That’s simply good business.  People who have made an investment in themselves, to cultivate talents which make them valuable, should be valued and protected.

Even throughout the 1960s, 70s, 80s, and 90s, the majority of workers weren’t viewed distinctly enough to warrant special attention.  There were plenty of others that could replace them.

Nowadays, specialized skills, such as those found in IT, are vital to most every company.  The more common skills, such as sales staff, labor, general accountancy, customer service, and so on are more easily replaced and so, often, no special effort is made to create job satisfaction.  This fact alone, may likely explain why 70 percent of us aren’t thrilled with our jobs.

Signs for Change

You’ve been at the job for 6, 12, or 18 months, and the honeymoon phase as come to an end.  Many of the things you were promised have never materialized; some aspects may have been under-delivered; the company may have “changed direction” and the situation may even have deteriorated to some extent.  For example:

  • You’re bored and underutilized.  Your skills are growing rusty from lack of use.
  • You dread going to work each morning because you know that your daily efforts will result in continued futility.
  • Your overtime has become a daily affair, spiraling out of control and significantly affecting your non-work life; expectations for a single worker are too high/unrealistic.
  • The office culture is in direct opposition to you.  It seems plodding and slow, when your tendency is to be on the go all the time (or vice-versa).
  • You exchange pleasantries with fellow workers, but there is not a single one that you would call a “friend” (or even an esteemed acquaintance).
  • You can’t identify the path to move ahead; you can’t find a way to earn a promotion and get away from an unfulfilling daily grind.
  • The company is on shaky financial ground, and maybe it’s time for you to move on before you get drawn down with them.
  • You’re experiencing apathy, or skyrocketing anxiety; you’re gaining or losing weight, and/or suffering from stress-related exhaustion.
  • Your direct manager appears outwardly stressed, unhappy, and/or in a continuous state of panic. His/her own disorganization increases as the chances that you (or your coworkers) will receive the blame for mistakes when superiors begin to seek answers.

Leave or Stay?

Even if you have only been at your job for a month or two, if you realize that the company is a bad fit, getting back into the job market might leave you with some explaining to do about this short-lived position. However, it can be done, and, likewise, it should not be the sole reason for staying.

On the other hand, being honest with your current employer and saying “This isn’t working out the way I expected” could actually generate some positive changes.  If they like your work, they could very well adjust aspects of your job that would make it completely acceptable to you.  You might actually find yourself with a lifelong career, simply because you spoke up.

Regardless of your choice, you will still need to step up your networking; since ending a months-long search when you obtained this job could lead to complacency about your contact list.  If asked point-blank about changing jobs so soon, rather focus on the fact that, while the job wasn’t an ideal fit, you gained valuable skills and experience which will prove beneficial in future positions.

Happy businessman sitting at the table in office

Making the Move

Do you need to enroll in four more years of college?  Almost certainly not; most times you merely need to move to a different environment, a different company with similar duties, where you enjoy a better fit.

Even if you are targeting a complete career change, there are plenty of transferable skills.  However, don’t just quit right away.  Plan your job search so that you will not go without a salary which could force you into another less-than-ideal employment situation.

The Takeaway

Before you go, make sure you leave something behind, a legacy if you will, that leaves the company just little bit better off than you found it.  It might be a new way of managing the office sports pool, or a complete redesign of the inventory system for the whole company.  Leave something good behind.  That’s the sort of thing that will follow you, and cast you in a positive light long after you’ve moved on.

 

Stewart, Cooper & Coon, has helped thousands of decision makers and senior executives move up in their careers and achieve significantly improved financial packages within short time frames. Contact Fred Coon – 866-883-4200, Ext. 200

Have a Great Idea at Work? Getting Superiors to Approve Your Suggestions

Do you have a great idea for your company? Perhaps you’ve thought of a way to save on expenses or speed up production. Conversely, maybe you’ve already submitted an idea and had it rejected. Most managers encourage feedback and ideas from employees and staff members. However, even good ideas can be rejected if they are not presented correctly. Time is money, and for managers, if the idea doesn’t spark immediate interest while proving a certain amount of worth, your good idea may be discarded.

Getting Superiors to Approve Your Ideas - professional man and woman speaking

Unfortunately, the majority of ideas presented by employees are never implemented. In his article, “10 Ways to get Your Boss to Support Your Ideas”, leadership expert, Dan McCarthy stated, “I’d compare [the chances that management will accept your idea] to baseball. A 300 average (three ideas implemented out of ten) and you’re an all-star.”

However, before submitting your next great idea to your superiors, here are some tips to help ensure that your suggestions will have a greater chance of crossing the threshold into realization.

Tips for suggesting ideas to managers

  1. Research thoroughly. Before even thinking about going to your supervisor or manager, make sure your idea is thoroughly researched from every possible angle. Are other companies implementing something similar, and if so, how is it working?
  2. Know key personnel. As you develop a plan to reveal a new idea, it would be beneficial to first understand the personality or leanings of the person or people to whom you’ll be presenting and direct the presentation towards those individual(s). For example, a manager with an analytical sense will want to see charts, graphs and figures, while a more intuitive type of manager may prefer to hear the information verbally, as it relates to the facts.
  3. FOMO can be a powerful incentive. The “Fear of Missing Out, or FOMO, is a common mindset which may actually work to your advantage while highlighting ideas being presented to management. While most companies will be hesitant to risk their reputations on new ideas without a fail-safe guarantee of success, they will also consider certain risks to avoid being surpassed by their competitors.
  4. List the benefits. How is this new idea going to benefit the manager and the company? Obviously, employees may have plenty of ideas and suggestions to help ease their own working burdens, but a manager will want to see how it will affect their job duties and the company as a whole. Will this new idea provide financial gain or savings, and if so, in what ways? Will it require hiring more employees or laying any off? Does it enhance production times?
  5. Conduct an experiment first. Find a way to conduct an experiment and use the results as part of your presentation. An experiment is a great way to show your plan in action while providing valuable facts and information that a verbal presentation on its own wouldn’t likely be able to accomplish.

Getting Superiors to Approve Your Ideas - woman presenting graph

Ideas and suggestions are usually welcomed by upper management. However, remember that the majority of suggestions are never implemented, so don’t be discouraged if an idea isn’t accepted: Instead, concentrate not only on building upon and improving your idea, but solidifying its presentation as well.

Fred Coon, CEO

 

Stewart, Cooper & Coon, has helped thousands of decision makers and senior executives move up in their careers and achieve significantly improved financial packages within short time frames. Contact Fred Coon – 866-883-4200, Ext. 200