How To Push Your Idea Up The Ladder

Businessman pushing a heavy boulder with great effort

Let’s say you have a great idea for your management.  You’ve identified something the company should really consider.  How do you move it up the ladder so that it gets implemented?

Do you send an email?  Perhaps include a link?  Do you stop someone in the lunchroom or after a meeting to share your thoughts?  Perhaps you have an opportunity to capture someone in the elevator for that elevator pitch.

For those of you who have tried any of these (probably most of us), how did they work for you?

Just think about how busy we are.  I don’t know any market insights or marketing departments that are overstaffed.  Everyone has their list of objectives for which they will be held accountable.  So if someone were to email you with a great idea, how likely would you be to jump on it, develop it, or make a case for it?

Consider from your management’s perspective. Since your leadership is likely getting several of these suggestions coming from all sides of the organization, how likely is it that your idea will get the attention it deserves?

There are a couple of things you can do to increase the chances of your ideas moving up the chain:

Make it easy for them

If you want to get some traction on an idea, develop it, research it, make a case for it. Create a concise, well-articulated document or presentation that your management can take on to their management.  Don’t just try to sell your management, create a document that sells their management.

This takes time — but your idea won’t go anywhere unless you make that investment.   Of course, you can’t do this with every idea, so pick and choose those few ideas that are worth the time required to make your case.  Just like a good ad, those ideas presented with a clear single message will be more effective.  If you can get just one of these ideas through management a year, you will be the hero.

Be smart about choosing the ideas to advance

  How do you determine which ideas to pursue?

 The book The 12 Powers of a Marketing Leader by Bart and Barwise suggests the following criteria in deciding which ideas to push forward:

  1. Biggest win-win for customers and the company
  2. Realism – Pick an issue that appears solvable with a realistic effort
  3. Energy — Test your ideas with others to see which generates the most energy. This could make the difference.
  4. Time to success — Pick something where you can achieve measurable progress while you’re still around.

Dovetail your idea to fit management’s plans

Finally, don’t try to change management’s agenda.  You will likely fail if you try to move the company in a direction senior leader don’t want to go.  You will be most successful if you dovetail your ideas and recommendations to fit within the current agenda and goals of senior management.

Good luck!

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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