Our company has developed some persistent quality problems, and I have some really good ideas to help improve things. How can I get anyone to listen?
You have to look inside and outside for the best approach.
THE INNER GAME
Start by looking at your attitude. Your question hints at victimhood, so be sure you aren't falling into the martyr trap.
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Focus on positive goals, such as better service to customers or better outcomes for your company, and step away from your personal frustration or ego deflation.
Consider the perspectives of the people to whom you've made suggestions. What does the situation look like from their vantage point? You might be seen as stepping on others' turf, going over their heads or putting them on the defensive.
None of these is a reason you should stop trying to make a difference, but understanding the situation may help you fine-tune your approach.
THE OUTER GAME
First develop the business cases for your ideas, and then take a strategic approach to advancing them.
The larger the change, the more you'll have to justify it. Organize your information about the reasons for making the change, the problems it will solve, the cost to implement it and the cost of not changing.
Also include a plan to evaluate it. Anticipate the perspectives of all affected parties, and include information that will be important to them.
Be selective about what you propose. Some people have a new idea every minute, but don't think them through. (You also may be seen as "crying wolf.") Bring forward a very small number of carefully selected ideas.
- Star Tribune (Minneapolis)