“Hi, I think I’ve got a better idea”

At some stage in our career, we can find ourselves in a position where the environment we are in doesn’t quite sit right with us. It may be that decisions are being made that we don’t agree with, or it may be that directions are being pursued that we think are not in the company’s interest. Perhaps even more challenging are those situations where the behaviours around us are deeply conflicting with our values.

Whatever the exact challenge, these situations create an internal conflict that have many paths to resolution. We can do nothing. We can complain and rail against the machine. Or we can work to create change.

The latter option is of course the most difficult, the most demanding, but can be the most rewarding. Now, being silent in the midst of a whirlwind of chaos is not an easy thing to do. But if you have a point of view, life is too short to keep it bottled up. Those ideas you have are built on experience and ingenuity that are yearning for expression.

This experience and capability that you have developed is most likely why you are in the room. It is why you were hired. And, not expressing those ideas disadvantages both you and the company you work for.

Easier said than done huh? Going against the status quo can be difficult. It can create opposition and dissent. It can ruffle the feathers of those around you. It may make you stand out in the crowd. This is where courage and confidence is so important. Some find this easy and are able to speak up to any audience. It takes a level of belief in yourself and everything that has led you to the point of conjecture to face down the demons that often hold you back. But those times in your career to be able to change the direction of an organisation significantly may only happen so often. So back yourself and speak up.

Your idea may not always be adopted but if it doesn’t get heard you will never know.

Often leaders are looking for reason, rationale and options to take the road less travelled. They themselves may be uncomfortable with the direction and simply haven’t been presented with a credible alternative.

I recall a moment early in my career where I was walking home from work, struggling with a decision that had been made. Disappointed in those around me for agreeing to the path. Yet, knowing that I had done nothing to change the decision. I had sat quietly when the team was asked for ideas on how the company should respond to a significant issue. Not speaking up rattled me and bothered me. I spent the walk home from work thinking through another way out of the mire. I then called some of my peers and canvassed an alternative path and tossed around the pros and cons.

Before the 30-minute walk was over I made the call to the CEO:

Ring, Ring ….

 Hello ….

 Hi, I think I’ve got a better idea.

 Ok, I’m listening …