I work with many business and STEM professionals who encounter professional pushback to their great ideas. Then, they fight the urge to tuck their tails between their legs and crawl back to the comfortable confines of their organization’s status quo culture. Alternatively, they take things personally – and negatively – and get pissed off at the person pushing back on their great idea.
Ever find yourself in a situation you were convinced would be positively received? Instead, you find yourself on the receiving end of professional pushback: from your boss or from your client. What course of action do you take?
My professional mantra is: Depending on where we sit around the table, we all hear the same stories differently. Shouldn’t our differences become our strengths and opportunities to better serve each other, first, so we better serve our clients?
Today, I offer you 3 questions to ask yourself before you propose another great idea. Especially, if you tend to encounter professional pushback more often than you receive buy-in.
Click on this link. Tell me which question(s) really resound with you.
First, professional pushback happens when you have not defined your Why.
Ask yourself Why your great idea is constantly on your mind, in the first place. Why are you so compelled to speak to your leadership about your great idea? Does your great idea address a universally perceived deficit or gap that requires improvement? And, if so, are you able to quantify the type of outcome to be expected from putting your great idea into play?
Next, professional pushback happens when you have not addressed the specific What’s.
Great ideas, no matter how simple, usually involve a lot of moving parts. Do your homework. Because putting your great idea into play may involve far more puzzle pieces than you thought about. So, determine the departments involved to bring your idea to fruition. Then, assess whether your great idea requires: new processes; melds nicely within existing processes and protocol; or involves something in-between.
Then, professional pushback happens when you do not completely identify Who.
From your perspective, your great idea does not involve any Change on your part, at all. You can keep on doing the same things, the same way. In fact, the other person, in the other department, becomes accountable for changing their behavior, mindset and perspective. In order to make your idea workable.
Hmmm. What if the person you are proposing your idea to doesn’t “see” things quite the same way you do? In fact, what if your boss, your boss’s boss or your client feels that you are the person who needs to Change, not them? From their perspective, things are just fine and dandy, indeed.
Ultimately, professional pushback creates opportunities for professional innovation through collaboration.
If you keep on getting shut down or blocked in the workplace, in spite of your great ideas, make these 3 questions part of your professional habits. Yes, you just may be working with a toxic boss or a set-in-stone culture. However, when you begin to assess opportunities in this manner, you further develop your own professional collaboration skills. In addition, as you assess everyone’s perspective, prior to proposing your great idea, you identify the Why, What and Who involved in executing your great idea.
The best way to turn potential professional pushback into a professional development opportunity is understanding everyone’s perspective, before you propose your great idea. Often, having those collaborative conversations and doing your homework changes your perspective on your own accountability. Why shouldn’t that great idea become an even greater one, in the process?
Start moving one millimeter forward, today.
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Babette Ten Haken, Founder & President of One Millimeter Mindset™ serves organizations as a corporate catalyst and innovative speaker, strategist, coach and storyteller. Babette’s One Millimeter Mindset™ Workshops and Speaking programs leverage collaboration to catalyze professional innovation, workforce engagement and customer retention, especially in challenging Industrial Internet of Things environments. Babette’s playbook of IIoT team collaboration hacks, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon. She is a member of SME, ASQ, SHRM and the National Speakers Association. Image source: Getty image