As some of you may know, in addition to sharing my story and progress (see my gain in Net Worth article), one of the big reasons I blog is to improve my communication and thinking skills. Lately, I believe both of these two skills have jelled to enable me to see more about my life as an employee than it had in the past with respect to my career as an employee.
Are You Brilliant But Unknown?
Have you noticed that a lot of your ideas are all around you at work, but you still not a director or higher yet?
Well it could be that you ideas are being credited to others around you. I use to be open with my thoughts on particular problems and would speak about my solutions to any peer or friend that was within earshot. Surprisingly (or perhaps naively), I never communicated those ideas to my bosses and their bosses…
A few years back I remember telling my boss a brilliant idea that I had that would save the company hundreds of thousand of dollars each year. The idea was unique and I’m quite sure that it was all mine. I remember being excited about the idea and upon thinking of it, immediately requested a meeting with my boss (at that time) to discuss the idea. We had the meeting, and while he didn’t shoot it down, he was reserved and said he would look into it.
Time passes and a few month later, my boss tells the my department, this brilliant idea at a departmental meeting, and gives credit to a peer that was a good buddy of his. More time passes, and he gets the credit (via corporate awards) entirely with no mention of me (or even his buddy that he mistakenly gave the idea credit to).
Yeah, I was bitter, but you want to know something… It was entirely my fault for not gaining the credit that I should have had!
First, I knew of the reputation that my former boss had and knew that I shouldn’t have told him the idea in private meeting (what was I thinking?). Telling my boss alone, was like putting both a shark and a seal in the same SeaWorld aquarium… (poor seal…)
Second, I didn’t write-up the idea in a written proposal and email it to a few of the big bosses! Such an action could help your idea get recognized by someone in a higher management position, or perhaps you might start to develop a friendship with one of them.
Third, I didn’t re-enforce the idea by being more social with management. After sending the proposal, I should have tried to meet with the few managers to point out the strengths of my idea and answer any questions about the proposal. I could have even scheduled a meeting as a friendly Q & A (question and answer) session.
Forth (and this may be the most important), I should have tried to socialize more with management! I’ve seen many a lesser peer get promoted faster than I have because they are a golfing, card playing, or sport watching buddy with management. It’s human nature to try to surround yourself with people who like you and you like too. This is one of my biggest problems over my career, and is totally my fault (I’ve had opportunities). Remember, your managers are still just people…
Believe it or not, the same principals apply to becoming rich too! I’ve discussed these ideas with a few of my friends that are millionaires, and they say the same communication skills apply to gaining business (becoming rich), too. Of course upper management in their case are clientss, and other business connections. Obviously, they aren’t going to share their ideas either, instead they are going to present products for their business clients to buy…
I hope this little insight helps those suck in a dead end job or those just starting out. If you want to hear specific stories (I have plenty), email or comment below and I’ll introduce some in future articles.
Bests to you,