Ever had a great idea? Did you share this with your colleagues or friends?
What was their reaction? Supportive? Dismissive?
You are not the only person who is afraid of sharing ideas, nor will you be the only one to have their idea dismissed as irrelevant or silly.
Every day aged care and community workers are scared and intimidated to share improvements and innovative ideas. Scared they will be ridiculed. Scared they will be seen as stupid, scared everyone will laugh at them. (I still get scared - everyday).
Why do we get scared?
Change is a difficult thing. There usually is a lot of resistance to change, even if it will make processes better. Change is time consuming to learn, and can be intimidating to those learning it.
But, change happens every day. Some organisations are changing so rapidly that even considering a new idea is not feasible at the moment. Nor would they have the capacity to implement it. Hopefully there is an avenue for them to listen another time.
How can you get around these hurdles and get your idea heard?
Maybe you are requesting for more funding to run a leisure program, or there is a program that would be great to increase morale (e.g. up-coming leaders group).
How can you ensure your initiative or idea is heard by the right people?
1. Do your research
Get your thinking hat on. Understand the current workplace environment; why is this initiative a good idea?; Can you see any gaps which need to be thought about before telling anyone?
2. Outline the general idea
Why is your idea amazing? Are you able to articulate your vision precisely and enthusiastically? Most importantly can you articulate who will benefit the most?
3. Discuss it
Who do you know and trust (within or outside of your workplace). Talk to them. Can you articulate the idea? Are you able to listen to their criticisms? Are there holes in your idea that need fixing?
4. Can the benefits be measured?
Measurement will show there is a way to monitor its effectiveness. You want to show everyone it is working (right?). How much it will cost? Will there be savings to the organisation (e.g money, or time)? Hopefully the results will be positive and will grow for your idea.
5. What else do you need?
Time, money, people. Who do you need to talk that will help make this happen? (e.g. media, carers, other potential supporters?)
6. Write & present!
Now is the time to write a (very) short document. Get help (from a friend or Google). Book a meeting and show this document to the people that matter.
OR if you are lucky your organisation already has avenues set up to help their employees promote their innovative ideas (e.g. Rise Network's Employee Innovation Awards).
Getting your idea out there is the most important thing. If your are (super) lucky your idea will be swooped upon BUT it is also (highly) likely that the idea will need further development before it will be supported by your workplace.
Unfortunately being told an idea needs work is part of the process. It's not the end of the world. You need to dust off the disappointment and get back to the drawing board. Be prepared to learn a lot about yourself, your passions, and the priorities of those around you. It can be a long process but the benefits are worth it.