From Dissertation to Director: Why Everyone is Qualified to Influence Change
So you’ve started your first job since University and you are still learning the ropes. But as you start to understand the business, your role and the roles around you, you see some glaringly obvious opportunities for change. But you can’t suggest them as you are just a graduate, hugely under-qualified to make business decisions and nobody would possibly listen anyway.
One of the biggest assets of any company is its people and the best thing about people is that they are all different. And being different means you see, feel and hear things in different ways. So why wouldn’t we (as employers) want to take on board the ideas and observations of someone who might have just seen, felt or heard something that we missed?
Everybody in a business has a value, a reason they are there and an opportunity to make the business better. If you take that opportunity and run with it then you might find that actually, you had some really valid points that influence a change you could have never imagined. And don’t be afraid to influence change. Some of the best decisions and suggestions are made by those on the frontline, the ones who truly live and breathe the business and you can be any level, sit anywhere in the hierarchy and be any type of qualified to make that judgement.
The MD’s, CEO’s and Board Directors are there for a reason and they made their way to that position because they deliver, but as part of that role, they might momentarily lose sight of what’s really happening on the ground. They need you to be their eyes and ears; after all, you know the customers, products, services and the rest of the team better than anyone else. So don’t be afraid to influence a change that you know will make a positive difference.
And I am not suggesting you storm into the boardroom demanding the changes you want to see in the business. Instead, collect a case, discuss ideas with others in the team and then make suggestions in a professional and considered way. And if you aren’t bold enough to do this yourself think about sharing your ideas through an anonymous forum to begin with – we have a system called TinyPulse at Neo PR where employees can make anonymous suggestions and ask questions – or on email where you can consider your response. And don’t give up if you don’t get a reply. Persevere and remind the team that it’s something you are passionate about and even happy to lead, if appropriate.
But don’t fight a losing battle. If you get a no, don’t be disheartened, there will be a reason. It might not be the right time for a change, cost may be a factor, there may be changes already happening that you are yet to be aware of. Just keep hold of the ideas and tailor them or bring them back up at a more appropriate time if they continue to be relevant. I can assure you, this passion and drive to influence a change will be something that is welcomed.
So, let’s look at that story again.
You’ve started your first job since University and you are still learning the ropes. But as you start to understand the business, your role and the roles around you, you see some glaringly obvious opportunities for change. You want to suggest some ideas to your senior team so you do some research, build a document of ideas and examples and share them with a select group of fellow team members. You all work together to come up with a solid plan and bring the ideas to the Board. The meeting is great, the ideas are well received and they are all thankful for your proactive initiative.
You are ‘just a graduate’ but you are already qualified to influence a change.