Getting Your Ideas Heard

Getting Your Ideas Heard

We’ve been discussing dealing with the theft of your idea by a co-worker. The discouraging truth seems to be that it’s very hard to win this battle. So, instead you need to win the war.

A much more positive way to approach this is to become the go-to idea guy. That is, the person the boss expects to come up with original ideas.

First, of course, you have to have the innovative ideas to pitch. That I can’t help you with. If you do not typically come up with new takes, then I’d make my mark in some other way. Otherwise, you’ll end up like Emmett.

But having the idea is not enough. You’ve got to get the powers-that-be excited about it.

Getting a new idea adopted

Again, if you generally work with a good group, you can create that excitement by having lots of colleagues sharing your enthusiasm. And this is by far the preferable way to interest your boss.

However, if you are in a group with one or more confirmed idea-stealers, you might want to answer the following questions as a way to pitch your idea to your boss.

    • Is there anything else like your idea already in existence? If something is similar, how is yours different and therefore worthy of investment?
  • What are the advantages of your idea to your customers?
  • What are the advantages to the company? Unless making money is one of the answers here, prepare for more of an up-hill climb.
  • How expensive will it be to get to market? You may not be able to give exact figures, but you should at least know how many people it will take, how long, what resources will be needed (e.g. special equipment or outside help), etc.
  • What’s in it for your boss to adopt your idea or push it up the line to get the funding? If your answers look suspiciously like the advantages for the company generally, I’d keep looking. How can you get your boss to see personal advantage in supporting your idea? He gets some of the credit; he gets a bigger budget, etc. People just naturally put more effort into something from which they benefit personally than not.

It’s a lot of work, I know, but the way you get to become the ideas-guy is being able to field any objections. Once you are successful with one idea, repeat the sequence for the next idea until you have a track record which has the boss turning to you first for the new idea.

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