Building Performance Trust
You can have outstanding ideas, yet never leverage them into winning at working results. That's because the secret behind those ideas lies in performance. Yours.
Getting the okay to pursue your idea is directly related to the level of confidence other people have in your ability to deliver it. And if you do, you will create for yourself opportunities on a regular basis. One successful idea delivery leads to another and another and another. Bigger and bigger ideas are entrusted to people who consistently turn ideas into reality.
You see, not only does an idea need to be a good one, but the idea-maker needs to be a performer who can deliver the vision. That doesn't mean you need to have executed lots of ideas before getting one approved. It does mean the base quality of your work is a deciding factor.
In twenty years of management, I've vetoed more good ideas than I've approved. Most were vetoed for one reason: performance trust. I didn't trust the person to deliver the idea they had. A mediocre idea from a strong performer will win approval over a great idea from someone with inconsistent follow-through and poor results.
If you can't do the little things, why would anyone give you bigger or more important things to do? And while every idea might not be big, it takes energy, time and resources away from other work endeavors. Not all ideas that get approved turn out to be successful. That's OK. Lots can be learned from the ones that fail, too. Look at Edison and the light bulb. But if an idea fails because it was poorly executed, we only learn the competency quotient of the initiator.
There is a mercenary side to idea approval. What happens with your idea is a reflection on the person who approved it. I know, for one, I'm not willing to risk my reputation on someone's half-baked or half-executed idea. That doesn't mean I don't take risks on individuals or ideas. I do on both. But, business decisions are about odds and risks. Make sure both are in your favor. Being a strong performer is the best way to get your ideas noticed and sell them to the powers that be.
You can start enhancing your performance reputation by implementing ideas that don't require anyone's approval. Do what needs doing, what would be helpful if implemented or beneficial if created. Of course, this at-your-discretion work is always in addition to current responsibilities. People who are winning at working use ideas to build performance trust. And performance trust builds careers.
(c) 2005 Nan S. Russell. All rights reserved.
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Nan Russell has spent over twenty years in management, most recently with QVC as a Vice President. She has held leadership positions in Human Resource Development, Communication, Marketing and line Management. Nan has a B.A. from Stanford University and M.A. from the University of Michigan. Currently working on her first book, Winning at Working: 10 Lessons Shared, Nan is a writer, columnist, small business owner, and on-line instructor.
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