The bal­ance

Anya Hind­march. Plus Shar­madean Reid

The Guardian - Weekend - - Contents -

I’m I new at an es­tab­lished com­pany with a set way of do­ing things. As a keen, ex­cited n new­bie, how do I per­suade se­nior man­age­ment to lis­ten to my ideas? Col­leagues say they’re never lis­tened to. What’s the best way to make my­self heard?

Change is hard. When you’re work­ing at a big cor­po­rate, it’s nigh-on im­pos­si­ble. That’s why star­tups ex­ist, to shift the way we have al­ways done things. But if you are de­ter­mined to make a change at your work, there is only one way to do it in a large com­pany: make a case for time and money.

No one cares about do­ing things dif­fer­ently un­less there will be a big fat sav­ing at the end of it. I can see you have en­ergy and en­thu­si­asm, but set aside your ide­al­is­tic no­tions for a mo­ment in favour of com­mer­cial vi­a­bil­ity.

Pow­er­ful peo­ple like to know the eco­nomic value of some­thing, so try­ing to say, “Look, this is so much bet­ter/cooler/more modern,” doesn’t have the same im­pact as say­ing, “We will save 24% in cost and be 12% more ef­fi­cient if we did it like this.”

If you have a new idea you want to im­ple­ment, do your own mini white pa­per, in­ter­nally. Think about the ben­e­fits from all lev­els of the busi­ness. How does your pro­posed plan af­fect ev­ery­one from the CEO to the re­cep­tion­ist; what are they go­ing to get out of it?

Try to work in har­mony with long-serv­ing em­ploy­ees to bring them on board; maybe your col­leagues are not be­ing lis­tened to be­cause they do not com­mu­ni­cate their pro­pos­als prop­erly. Don’t let their ret­i­cence af­fect your mis­sion.

Send your ques­tions for Shar­madean to boss­ing.it@the­guardian.com

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