Test your ideas before Asking for acceptance
Innovation is the buzzword in today’s corporate world. Organisations are ready to make every effort to extract one useful idea that could bring some improvement in their business.
But ask an employee what he thinks about his company’s initiatives to foster innovation, he would say, ‘its just hype!’
Despite the necessity to innovate, it is getting harder to implement ideas to make a difference. As organisations operate under an increased number of influences, they are forced to opt for target-driven, time-tested and risk-averse techniques.
This makes it difficult for new ideas to see the light of the day. Also the more radical an idea is the fewer are its chances of getting approved. In such conditions, creative people repeatedly fail to get their ideas approved and become discouraged.
Instead if they explore what could prevent others from adopting an idea, they can use their creativity to overcome those obstacles.
The process of getting an idea adopted is as complex as the process of reaching it. An understanding of it can help in identifying potential obstacles. Anne Miller, in her book, How To Get Your Ideas Adopted discusses the four stages of adopting an idea:
Blind: In the first stage of resistance, people choose to overlook an idea because it is unusual, it is not in line with how they see things. They reject it because they feel they don’t need it. For example, the manager of a team performing consistently well may see no point in implementing any idea to improve.
Frozen: This is a frustrating stage where people find excuses to avoid admitting the importance of implementing the idea. The way most of the countries are responding to the initiatives proposed by climate change campaigners is an example of this.
Interested: This is the stage where people actually engage in exploring the new idea. Their interest does not imply that they will like the idea.
Integrated: In the final stage the idea is integrated into the work, behaviour and thinking of people. With constant support and feedback, the idea comes so much into practise that it becomes a normal way of doing things.
Each of these stages could pose obstacles to the idea being adopted. Understand that however good your idea is, you will face some resistance initially. To deal with it, you have to make people realise that something is going wrong, that it will affect them and that your idea can fix the problem.
Ideas will be adopted quickly if they serve the needs of a large group. So, before taking the idea to the management, assess its usability. Modify it to make it useful to several people.
The next step is to make people feel safe about adopting the change- they could be unsure about results, suspecting hidden problems or anxious about making the management upset.
Once people realise that a change is needed and your idea is a feasible solution, you cross the first two stages mentioned above. They would be now willing to listen to your case, and you have to make the best out of their interest.
Do a thorough research on the subject before you present your idea. Keep your message clear and concise. Be prepared to answer questions that may rise during the presentation. Trust and credibility influence whether others should accept your proposal or at least listen to it. Focus on building them, well before presenting your idea. Impress upon people that you are willing to work for a bigger cause and capable enough to drive in the change.
The next step is convincing your boss. Understand the priorities of your boss and explain to him how your idea can streamline the processes, remove roadblocks, improve the team’s efficiency and make his job easier.
When an idea is proposed to bring in massive changes or is investment intensive, there will be many hurdles in its way to get adopted. People up in the hierarchy may not agree with your data, argument or conclusion. In such case, test your idea on a small scale first.
This will help you ascertain the worth of your idea. Also, you can use the data from the test to support your argument during the presentation. Co-workers who participated in the test could endorse your idea.
Once everyone is convinced to adopt the change, you have to provide them the most practical and easy way to implement and adopt it.
If your idea is in line with other processes in the organisation and could be carried out with the available resources, it will come into practice soon. Be prepared with alternatives to deal with obstacles in implementation.
Resistance to ideas is because they challenge what is usually believed and practised.
They propose to bring in changes that may seem unpleasant to others. You must understand what could prevent each person from adopting a change, clear his apprehensions and tell him why he should go for it.