Change is essential in every growing company. When applied and managed effectively, it has the potential to drive an organization towards success. However, rewards and risks come with change, and often, companies tend to focus on the latter and ignore the former.
When business leaders are already accustomed to the way things are, they resist change because they perceive it as a risk. This is a notion that needs to be altered, as change is necessary for an organization to grow and progress. Challenging the status quo, when done well, offers numerous possibilities.
If you’re a manager with a strong idea that can greatly benefit your company, communicating it with your superiors is an imperative. As an employee in the middle ranks, you are in the best position to identify and promote change in your organization.
Your chances of successfully pitching your ideas to the people who are in the position to implement them will depend on the timing and presentation of your proposal. To increase the odds of getting your bosses to say “yes” to your idea, remember the following:
Know your audience
Keep your audience in mind as you prepare your proposal. Know their goals and values, as these will allow you to shape your message in such a way that will resonate well with them.
Be mindful of their time as well by keeping your presentation concise but still engaging and informative.
Highlight gains and show value
According to a University of Michigan study, high-ranking executives often reject ideas from their employees when they fail to see its relevance to the overall performance of the company.
When pitching an idea to your bosses, make sure to highlight how the entire company can benefit from it. Address the needs and concerns of each layer in the hierarchy—from the employees, middle-rank managers, and executives.
If you can show how your idea can enhance the organization’s productivity and increase its revenue without additional costs, you will surely get the attention of your superiors.
Back up with strong evidence
Present strong evidence from credible and reliable sources to support your ideas. Beef up your proposal with compelling facts, statistics, as well as examples from similar companies.
If you want your company to invest in a certain product, for instance, you can back up your proposal with product reviews from customers. You can also cite other companies who are using the same product and demonstrate the benefits they have gained from it.
You can get more people on board with you if you can support your ideas with evidence that will prove the value of your proposal.
Keep up with trends
If you want to have a strong proposal, be up-to-date with the latest trends. Keep an eye out for the latest app developments and technological advancements, as you could use these tools to optimize business operations and increase the company’s overall efficiency.
Again, when using apps or other technological tools, emphasize the benefits they may offer and present evidence and statistics that will back up your claims.
Apart from reviews, you may also invite an expert who can talk about the product you wish to acquire for the company. These strategies will surely bolster your proposal and get the attention of your superiors.
Prepare for unexpected questions
Since executives have a keen eye for the so-called big picture that middle-rank employees often fail to see, make sure to prepare for unexpected questions that may come from your superiors.
Before you present, study and analyze your proposal well and try to solicit feedback from trusted colleagues.
Mind the timing
When proposing a new idea to your bosses, timing is of critical importance. Even if you have done everything right—from the preparation to the presentation, you can still get a “no” from your superiors if the timing isn’t right.
According to a study published in the Harvard Business Review, sensitivity to timing is what separates successful sellers from the rest of the pack. The best and most effective sellers, as reported in the article, are those who have a keen eye for when priorities shift in the organization and when more people are starting to notice and pay attention to certain issues in the company.
This is also where an eye for critical trends also come into play. Successful sellers have a good eye for trends that their company may greatly benefit from. This is especially true for important technological trends like artificial intelligence, m2m, and SaaS.
Executives may not entirely acknowledge new technologies such as these because of their complacency with the company’s current business operations. This is a challenge for sellers to make a compelling case for their proposal especially when the new product or technology will bring great rewards for the organization.
Focus on solutions
If you’re going to present problems, make sure to suggest thoughtful solutions. To successfully sell your proposal, avoid focusing on problems, as these may be perceived as an angry complaint from an employee.
If you propose meaningful solutions, however, it shows that you have the company’s best interests in mind.
Emphasize the urgency
When proposing a new idea, it’s important that you communicate its value and urgency. Demonstrate that your idea is not simply a luxury but a necessity.
In line with this, highlight how your idea supports the goals and values of the company. Remember that executives only pay attention when you can show them the relevance of your idea to the growth and success of the entire company.
Employees are often hesitant to promote changes in their organizations. In effect, the company loses the opportunity to grow because of these important and critical changes.
When proposing a new idea that your company can greatly benefit from, remember the following: do your research, back up with strong evidence, highlight the need and urgency, and tailor your message according to your audience’s goals and values.
Change can potentially propel an organization towards success. As the old saying goes, change is the only constant in this world and it’s both a risk and a reward. But with strategic planning and implementation, it can open a world of possibilities for the entire company and all its valued employees.