Step Up and Stand Out or Step Down and Lose Out
When You Have The Opportunity Bring It
The cycle of growth in companies is very dependent upon many factors. Large companies may have more opportunities just due to shear size. Small companies can have opportunities for stepping up and getting noticed; because there isn't anyone else there to do it. So just because you think there isn't the opportunity - think again.
Here is the point. If you like where you are in your company, and you feel pretty secure - maybe you can keep your job doing what you do - that is provided there isn't anyone under your level that wants to move up - or push you down. You need to keep that in mind always.
In a smaller company, things are generally more transparent. There are plenty of opportunities to come up with ideas as to how to improve how the company reacts to situations. But when you come up with a unique idea and don't act on it, could it have other implications? Will someone else come up with a similar idea or concept and win the day? Do you have an idea or concept that can improve sales by a large factor - and you are setting on it? Why not bring it forward?
I have been in situations with small companies where I just didn't know enough to make the case for my idea. I didn't want to speak up as it seemed others in the group were far beyond my level of expertise. As it turned out over time, I was probably an expert compared to the ones I was worried about...and all that time I could have made a significant difference.
In larger companies it is even more profound. The key is in "who's the boss." Hopefully you have position that allows you to feel sincerely independent enough to call it as you see it. Getting in a bad situation with a bad boss isn't going to be cured if you outshine the slug. If you are not working for a slug, but a reasonable person and someone interested in the well being of both the company and his employees - first, congrats to you - but a near second - remember to make your boss look good on your way up. This will play in your favor with your next boss as well. Think this through. Do you think anyone wants to promote someone up that is going to be a threat or challenge to their job? But if you bring your strong suit and make your boss look great - who can resist that?
As I stated earlier, there have been situations where I felt less than the expert. So ask questions. Find people with the answers. If you feel like you have the answer to a not yet answered question, build the case for your idea. Don't be worried if someone else steals your ideas. They will have to explain how they came up with it. If they can't and have to come back to you - well. If they steal your idea and it fails - fantastic. If it is successful, be careful. If this thief comes to you after his promotion recognizing how smart you are and wanting you on his team - remember who this guy is.
I have seen a lot of folks that just set on ideas. Some of their ideas may not have a lot of value, granted. Sometimes the value of the idea is in the action of accepting these seemingly small ideas is in job satisfaction of the ones offering them. As a manager you may find that accepting and recognizing employees for minor improvements can be a lot cheaper than monetary offerings and keep a positive attitude in the work space.
Wherever you are in the process with an idea - be the "intro-preneur" or entrepreneur within the company. Make the presentation as complete as possible but don't set on your hands. Let the powers that be make the decision to move on. Not making the effort is your biggest mistake.
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