This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
( or How to win promotion at work )
by Brian McGregor
Copyright © 2001 Brian McGregor. All rights reserved.
No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage or retrieval system, without permission of Brian McGregor. Violations of this copyright will be enforced to the fullest extent of the law
100 Ways to Influence Your Boss A Message from Brian McGregor
Why do we Work? For most people, working for a living is a means to an end. That end is money. Of course we all need job satisfaction, intellectual reward and the rest. But the vast majority of people who work on this planet, do it for the money. At the lowest common denominator, the money we earn from working enables us to survive. To eat, drink, be clothed and housed and, in many cases, to enable us to provide these basics for other people for whom we have responsibility. As work earnings increase, of course, we can rapidly add to the basics - bigger house, cars, holidays, TVs, videos, furniture, eating out, etc etc etc. Job for Life? What many of us are beginning to realise is that our employment is increasingly under threat. In today's world, there is no such thing as a job for life. Who doesn't have a friend or relation who has lost their job? This is a world-wide phenomena. Unemployment is at a record high in many countries. Even in strong economies, unemployment is still a constant. Stick Together? There's no point in binding together with your workmates anymore – trade unions and associations are of little help in job security today. Strength in numbers is an obsolete proposition. Forget the “them and us” of days gone by. Ignore the “managers and workers” syndrome. The working world has changed dramatically, and it calls for you to take dramatic actions.
In today's job market the rivalry is between you and me. That’s right, we’re in competition with each other. Let me prove it to you. If you are one of two people working side by side, and one has to go, would you volunteer? No? Neither would I! And that’s the change. From now on it's personal, and it's competitive! If you need the job you have and you want to make sure you keep it then you’d better start doing something about it. Job Promotion for YOU? Have you been promoted in the last two to three years? You really should have been. To improve your own standard of living and to secure yourself within the organization, you must try and get promoted. And then do it again. Putting it harshly - if at work you’re not growing, you’re dying. So, you need to progress and win promotion into a better job, and you should be working at that right now. How Do You Win Promotion? This is the very essence of the book. The person who has most day-to-day control over your work life is your immediate manager. This person effectively has your future in their hands. So you need to start convincing them that you are special. And you need to do it soon! You can start taking some actions today to begin influencing your boss. The book will show you how. This is one battle you owe it to yourself to win. Good luck, and go for it.
Brian McGregor March 2001
100 Ways to Influence Your Boss
Be Noticed Self-development for Free Reach for the Stars Give the Employer Something Muscle in to Move on Details of the 100 Ways Promote Yourself Be Unusual.Contents • What are Your Options? • The Way Ahead for YOU The 100 Ways to Influence Your Boss Index of the 100 Ways Promote Yourself Be Unusual. Be Noticed Self-development for Free Reach for the Stars Give the Employer Something Muscle in to Move on And finally… About the author 4 .
and opportunities will miraculously appear. Every single one of us can. there are realistically two choices in the way they conduct themselves at work. This option is for fatalists who believe "what will be will be". a single individual controls 90% of the work environment and opportunities of an employee. if you are employed. That individual is the immediate manager – in other words.you can. The Second Option But there is a second option! And. the book is all about this second option.problems will just go away by themselves. they control your working prospects both now and in the future. The first is to keep the old head down. or try to do something about it. In most jobs. First of all. Furthermore. And they can’t do anything to influence this. 5 . Their attitude is not to disturb anything . let’s see if we can agree on one point. Whatever their state of unhappiness or dissatisfaction with their lot at work. and not rocking the boat. Your boss’s view and reaction to you effectively decides how you are treated by your colleagues and your company. They feel they’re better off conforming. The sad truth about the workplace today is that many employees probably feel like this. Don’t accept that you can’t influence your future . their logic is that things might get worse if they mention anything. your boss. In effect. their fate is in the hands of “the company”. This is for people who think that it doesn’t matter how they perform at work. you owe it to yourself to grab the second option. They also determine to a significant degree how well you progress within the organization.100 Ways to Influence Your Boss What are Your Options? The First Option For most people in employment.
You want to take the actions which will help persuade the powers that be that you have more to offer. If you’re still with me. The Way Ahead for YOU The Rules to Follow In reality only the second option provides you with the future you seek Here are the simple rules which underpin the second option: • • • • • • • Be positive Be different Get noticed Have confidence in your abilities Seek out and develop networks of contacts Don’t just follow the crowd Take responsibility for yourself By following these principles not only is your job more secure. then you may have just proven to yourself that you are a first option animal. Your Ammunition 6 . because you will only upset yourself with all the actions that are going to be suggested – which you are going to ignore. doesn’t it make sense to try and influence their opinion and perception of you. YOU are the type of person who wants to make things happen. That it is in their interests and to their benefit to provide you with opportunities at work. you also have a far higher chance of getting promotion and earning more money. and you agree this person has considerable power over you at work. and of your capabilities? If you haven’t said yes to this. You want to grab back some control over your working existence. First option animals better not read any further.If that is the case.
Your strategy will also continually confirm to your boss how keen and ambitious you are. because everything follows from influencing that person. Building up your reputation in this way serves two purposes. When they are looking for candidates who can take on new challenges. By implementing only a few of these suggestions you will significantly improve your personal standing. So. Be Secure The second effect of your strategy will make your job more secure. Other departments will want to employ you. you will be way down on that list. • • • • • Your own job will be more secure. by impressing your own boss. You now know how vital this is. Your positive reputation will cascade through your company. you will achieve several benefits. By succeeding here. when the really tough decisions come around and managers discuss who they have to let go. you are far better 7 .your name will be high up the list and at the forefront of their thinking. Moving Up All the ideas put forward in the book are aimed at showing your boss that YOU are a member of staff to be valued. First. who have demonstrated belief in the organization and who are of promotion material . Build Credibility A side-effect of many of the suggestions in the book is that your name will become much more widely known within your organization. Other companies will want to employ you.This book gives you all the ammunition you need to influence your boss. You will be given promotion opportunities quicker than before.
Your immediate manager may not always be the most appropriate person to attempt to influence. Don't follow ALL of the suggestions in this book! Be selective. not to get sacked for being a nuisance! There are more than enough ideas in the book. To create and undertake your strategy of influencing your boss requires you to take some time out for yourself. You have to be the judge of who is the 8 .placed when opportunities come round within your own sphere of the work environment. as evidence of your credibility filters through to other people in the company. You're looking to enhance employment security and promotion opportunities due to positive contributions. Also. Who is Your Manager? You will also need to use individual recommendations in the list with care. After all. Go one step at a time! You don’t need to go mad with this campaign. you will find that managers in different departments will begin to express an interest in you. You need to plan your campaign carefully. not annoy him or her. you’ll probably be doing more than any other employee in your organization to influence your boss. Just by selecting and implementing one of the suggestions. Be Selective But a word of warning. Your objective is to influence your manager. and suitable for your manager and your organization. and sometimes with discretion. Most employees spend 100% of their time at work in fulfilling the functions and processes for which they are employed. Spend that time in deciding which of the suggestions and ideas in the book are most relevant to you. you are the individual who is proving by actions that they are capable of more opportunity.
He or she may represent your idea as their own.best target in your company for the results of your new found enthusiasm and initiative. You may selectively take an idea or proposal to a different manager. But beware. understand how they operate.there could be repercussions. and make them look good! In summary. Put another way. you need to cultivate other contacts. They have their own agenda. unco-operative and irresponsible. Where it is suggested that you take findings or information to your boss. You have to judge the most effective way to pitch the ideas in your organization. and take all the credit that goes with it. their own business circle and their own pressures. After all you're giving constructive and helpful ideas. There’s no point in trying to beat the politics at your place. if you go over the head of your immediate boss . You should get a welcome reception. Looking down on the individuals who make up their part of the empire is not usually allocated too much time. help your manager to be successful and you’ll help yourself to become indispensable and more marketable. They're longing for honest conversations with people like you. you have to assess whether he or she can be expected to be helpful. Many managers have lost touch with the day to day working life of their staff and their environment. use your head before you use a suggestion from the list. Your immediate boss may also cheat you. and take advantage of them. knock on the door and go in. If your manager is the opposite of all these things. in other words they are likely to be unhelpful. or it could be a useful tactic to copy ideas to influential managers or directors. Be Brave Don't be afraid to knock on doors. So. People who can do some of their thinking for them and help them to develop their part of the company. The best you can do is recognize they exist. co-operative and responsible. It's very effective and it's GOOD FOR YOU! 9 .
This is where you will find the ammunition to create your own campaign to influence your boss.100 Ways to Influence Your Boss The 100 Ways now follow. First you will find an index. The next section describes each of the 100 Ways in detail. 10 . showing a short title for each of the 100 Ways.
don’t rush in firing on too many fronts. in your organization. Not every Way will be relevant or even desirable for you in your present circumstances. with your management hierarchy. Select one Way today. make sure you DO something.Allow me to repeat the word of warning given earlier! Do be selective. and go for it! Index Promote Yourself (Ways 1 – 18) 1 2 3 4 Offer to arrange social events. But. sports competitions for moral and team building Cut some relevant articles out of newspapers or magazines Subscribe to and bring in to the office appropriate publications Ask for Customer Services training 11 . So. Read all 100 Ways and identify which of them are appropriate for you at this moment in time.
5 6 7 8 9 Pioneer a Departmental library Visit other Departments in the organization Learn about a new IT issue and produce synopsis Become an "expert" in a topical area Seek to improve office layout 10 Suggest change in office equipment that would be more effective 11 Suggest steps that will improve internal customer service 12 Identify company and management inconsistencies 13 Suggest tangible ways in which your unit can add value 14 Inform your Manager of any internal problems you know are about to break 15 Suggest ways of getting your company or your people in the news 16 Ask if you can conduct a survey of memo and e-mail traffic 17 Suggest a review of any telephone dialling restrictions 18 Offer to manage the induction process for new starters in the Department Be Unusual. Be Noticed 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 (Ways 19 – 36) Arrange for special activities to raise funds at work for a charity Suggest you offer your boss as a speaker at relevant business events Suggest a review of your company’s ecological position Suggest a stress control initiative Suggest team building training Re-decorate the office to improve staff performance Identify staff in other Departments who will strengthen your unit Suggest an outsider comes into the office and observes 12 .
always bring bad news to your Manager quickly 14 Suggest your boss replaces his rectangular conference table with a round table 15 Ask your boss to leave his or her door open 16 Recommend that your boss doesn't take phone calls in meetings 17 Suggest your boss holds meetings where everybody stands up 18 Propose interchanging of staff Self-development for Free 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Suggest a first aid initiative (Ways 37 – 53) Offer to organise an unofficial customer satisfaction survey Suggest your boss proposes your company joins local trade associations Ask to be sponsored by the company on business related education Ask to clarify what is expected from you in your role Ask if you can shadow a senior member of staff Ask for telephone training Ask for meetings training Ask for presentation skills training 10 Ask for computer skills training 13 .9 Help your manager to get promoted 10 Identify talented people in your own Department 11 Suggest a recognition system for staff who are not in direct sales 12 When in a meeting with your boss. say "I'll take care of it" 13 Whenever you have it.
11 Identify how new technology could be used now to change a current practice 12 Ask to join a business association 13 Get senior member of staff from another Department to speak at your team meeting 14 Ask if you can attend a relevant business conference 15 Ask if you can attend a relevant business exhibition 16 Ask for training in handling customer complaints 17 Subscribe to an appropriate business publication Reach for the Stars 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 (Ways 54 – 62) Volunteer to become involved in company projects Ask if you can be mentored by a senior manager/director Suggest a relevant project within the Department Suggest a suggestion scheme. but deliver it as an ideas session Already got a suggestion box scheme? Refresh it by converting it into ideas meetings Make more of your personal contacts Ask for more responsibility Propose brain storming sessions Offer to conduct a survey on the perception of others about your manager and staff 14 .
renovate. modernise filing system 11 Look for physical security weaknesses and suggest improvements 12 Look for computer system security weaknesses and report on them 13 Identify weak links in processes 15 . refresh.Give the Employer Something 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 (Ways 63 – 82) Suggest the updating and tidying up of the company’s reception area Tidy up the communal stationery system and storage For Managers running a budget or profit center. suggest ways of saving money Offer to keep the Notice Board tidy and up to date Suggest quality improvement initiatives Find and suggest ways to streamline systems and processes Propose improvements to the company's appraisal system Review the company’s marketing literature Provide competitive intelligence and information 10 Update.
14 Identify bottlenecks. and suggest ways to overcome 15 Identify where you believe money is being wasted 16 Suggest ideas for marketing the company and its products or services 17 Identify any obsolete processes 18 Pass on observations about competitors 19 Identify any reports or documentation which are unnecessary 20 Suggest the creation of efficiency improvement teams Muscle in to Move on 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 (Ways 83 – 100) Propose a health & safety at work initiative Produce an outline of the latest management fad Provide feedback on non-performing or disruptive colleague Propose that you train other staff members Combat staff Cynicism Offer to help your manager Suggest how your Manager can better communicate with his/her staff Suggest new ways in which your Manager can appear in a more positive light Suggest areas your Manager can delegate 10 Suggest your boss regularly starts new initiatives 11 Suggest your Manager intervenes in a negative customer situation 12 Identify any outsource activity which is being performed in a sub-standard way 13 Review sign-off limits 14 Ask if you can review the regular meetings schedule 15 Suggest that every Manager and Director meets at least one customer each month 16 .
In this definition. everyone is everyone’s customer.16 Suggest new structure for your Department 17 Suggest you sit in on appropriate interviews 18 Show how to save money on consultants 100 Ways to Influence Your Boss Promote Yourself One of the simplest way to influence your boss is to create opportunities in which you can demonstrate your organizational capabilities.you may not even need to implement it! 1 Offer to arrange social events. The fact that these are internal transactions should not reduce their importance – although you might wonder if that is the case. In consultancy speak. The unfortunate aspect of such posters is that they give the impression that the customer is someone “out there” – in other words. You will no doubt have seen posters adorning the walls of businesses of all types proclaiming “the customer is king”. customers are not just those people at the very end of the line who physically purchase or consume what it is your organization produces. Transactions will be taking place between employees at every point in the process which turns an original order into a supplied product or service. Indeed. quite the reverse is possible. You can have the desired impact by just having and promoting a new idea . There are very few occupations where an individual has no reliance on or contact with other members of staff. a buyer of what we produce. That’s not to say you have to work harder or longer. sports competitions for moral and team building The ability to work with other people is a key component in many working environments. 17 . The picture used to amplify the point is usually a handsome lion.
This scenario provides you with a smart opportunity to show your initiative and to demonstrate your own value to your manager. it is probable that the prevailing culture is that customers are people who are external to the company. your creativity in generating the environment for team building to flourish and your organizational capabilities. where it is likely that details on such local facilities have already been collated into a helpful pamphlet. If your idea is accepted. If your organization uses such posters. 18 . and the events do indeed go ahead. Remember. and will have your boss realising what a gem they have in you. whether or not they are council owned or commercial enterprises. Whilst it might indeed be pleasurable to organise and participate in social or sporting events. just enough options to show you have undertaken some “research”. and they are a customer of yours. look in Yellow Pages or your Thomson Area Guide. and the recognition for your initiative. just watch how keen your manager will be to associate him or herself with the success. Never forget your objective. The best way to ensure that people who you feel are important to your future are aware that it is all your idea is to take become the organizer. therefore. They can probably supply all the information you need. The library is also a source for your Council’s Year Book or Guide. Take it upon yourself to find out what local options exist for socialising or sports. The company may care to fund the event. Create a one page proposal showing the options available. Why. Alternatively. most Councils will have a Tourist Information Centre or Department. The quickest way to collect this information is probably via your local library. your recognition of the importance of team work. and they will also be keen to help. It is likely. but equally valuable for you and your project.These posters may entirely miss the point that you are a customer of your colleagues at work. usually produced for potential visitors. Use Team Building as the theme of your summary. Just embarking on this simple project will differentiate you instantly from your colleagues. It could become a regular feature in the calendar. that work colleagues are not treated as customers and the concepts of team working will be under-developed or neglected. any manager would be proud to have you as a member of their team. you’re not attempting to produce the bible of social offerings. your task is to gain the credit for the idea. however. If you need more information than that obtained via the library or your local Council. What are you demonstrating here? Well. This one session with your boss where you float the proposal is your target. Take this to your manager and suggest that you organise something appropriate.
it is probable that the manager is rarely brought good news. to many. there is a real opportunity to influence your boss into thinking even more highly of you than they do now. in this case your boss. If we just concentrate for a moment on the interaction between the staff and your boss. If their management style is autocratic and dictatorial. who in theory are management colleagues. Most managers are involved by their staff when problems and issues arise. The person to whom the manager reports has his or her own agenda. except to the degree it is necessary to perform the job. It doesn’t matter how tenuous the association is to the company or to your boss. Your boss cannot fail to be impressed. 2 Cut some relevant articles out of newspapers or magazines Management can sometimes be a lonely occupation. and will probably be much more interested in themselves than anything else. For some. No matter which way your manager turns. These are both useful attributes to have on your record when the company is looking for people to promote. Managers on the same level as your boss. 19 . for the attention of other managers. After all. the mere fact that you have had the thought and taken the time will mean it is high in emotive value. First as an employee who is interested in the company above and beyond the normal boundaries of their own role. Your reputation will be enhanced in a couple of ways. Then as someone who thinks of helping others. The very simplest strategy to achieve this is to bring him or her copies of articles or items you’ve seen in the press or read in a book that are relevant to your organization or your manager. Indeed. Even though what your bring might be low on intrinsic value. For others it may be lifestyle magazines or a book. Your tactic is to bridge the isolation gap by bringing your manager something positive. there might not be a friend in sight. For yet more people in work. reading is virtually a redundant activity. it is unlikely that there are any friendly faces from below. In fact. you will achieve the same effect. Be aware that it may not be appreciated if you appear to have spare time to organise social or sporting activities. be prepared for some of your articles to miraculously drift upwards within the organization. In this kind of environment. the best ideas are copied by the best managers! 3 Subscribe to and bring in to the office appropriate publications What do you and your colleagues bring in to read at work? In many cases the answer will be nothing. it will be a newspaper. the job of management is sorting out such problems.A slight word of warning – not every organization will feel this is effective use of your time. in reality are direct competitors for the next vacancy on the management ladder.
most importantly. How can that be. the higher a manager goes. the wider his or her business knowledge should be. It is probably fair to conclude that those at the top of these lists aren’t likely to have a positive impact on your career. So. In fact. I hear you asking? Well. it is important to demonstrate a healthy interest in the world of business in the general sense. Let me give you an example. Read them if you’ve time but. or insurance. plus you will be seen to be a person with a wide interest – in fact. You bring a magazine like “Hello” or “OK” to work. This is a double whammy for you. Is it likely that any of the items or features in such magazines will contribute to you doing a better job? It’s probably stretching it a bit thin to claim that your ambition is being fired and you would like to appear in one of these magazines in the future. Why not begin making your statement today – right at your desk? All you have to do is subscribe to one or more general business titles. and your career could well be negatively affected. Am I being heavy here? Probably. All I am suggesting is. If you are seen reading magazines such as these by your boss. But it’s only because I want you to take full advantage of this lovely little strategy. Let me take you through this one step at a time. In fact. you can turn the perceptions about reading to your advantage. we know the perception is that people who read “intelligent” material are considered to be intelligent. or petrochemicals. I’m not asking that you stop reading newspapers and magazines you like.what you read and what you are seen to read. do you think it possible that a subliminal signal might be picked up by them? Something such as. We know from published data which are the best selling daily newspapers and lifestyle magazines. just like a manager.And yet. that in the work environment. market and country. but a person going places will demonstrate an interest beyond his or her industry. Your company may be in the motor business. In other words. described earlier). bring them into the office and ensure you’re seen by your manager reading them – in your own time of course. Nor am I judging you. You might even find them interesting. Whatever you read will undoubtedly provide you with ammunition for some of your initiatives as you continue your influencing campaign. Another way to convey their presence is to use them as part of your article cutting project (see Way 2. there are two aspects we need to consider about reading . the opposite is more likely to be the case. For ambitious people. 4 Ask for Customer Services training 20 . the content of the publication and the cache or positioning of the publication. One of the measures that differentiates potential management material from the rest is that they show they are not narrowly locked into the confines of the company and its markets. reading froth like this shows you to be a person who looks on and envies – a spectator of life. This knowledge brings us to a superb and easy method of influencing your boss. Rather than someone who takes control and drives their life forward. let me make this clear.
Then you go and see your manager. it’s almost amusing observing how managers take the message and process it on to their own troops. If the issue is topical in your organization. you can arrange the sessions but perhaps your manager would like to introduce the topic. you find out if there are any in-company experts. then owe it to yourself to include it in your influencing strategy. it’s the thought that counts! 21 . If you think about. you should be in politics! Don’t forget. and you know how important Customer Service is to the business. If it isn’t a happening issue in your organization. but you have a boss who is susceptible to management “flavours of the month”. mortgage borrowers. improving Customer Service is one of the management mantras. and it might be a good idea to remember that whenever we deal with them. But. It may be your boss doesn’t take up your idea. It doesn’t matter whether you work in the private or public sector. Tell them you’ve looked into this area. One of the beauties about management and managers is that they frequently take things so seriously. don’t be disheartened. your organization may be one of those. You’d like to arrange some education sessions to enable the team to get up to speed on this most important topic. to whom the phrase “Customer Service” has attained almost biblical significance. One word of caution. today customers are the focus of most organization’s management.Virtually every company is striving to become customer-centric. Like. First you need to broadly understand how improved Customer Service is relevant. and is being applied in your industry. Your objective was to influence your boss and. If improved Customer Service is the cry from on high. Would your boss like to approve. doesn’t necessarily provide them with a better service. You will no doubt have noticed that everyone is now called a customer – train passengers. like many of the suggestions in this book. you might as well have it all. electricity users. which is management consultant speak for saying the most obvious thing. In today’s competitive market. If you’re going to take the credit. or other experts locally. In our world we might understand that calling someone a customer rather than a passenger or patient. you need to suggest that you organise and arrange everything. even hospital patients! Managers believe that improvements to Customer Service is a necessary pillar to the future prosperity of the organization. then you still have an opportunity. it doesn’t matter to you. However. We’re just talking about the basics here. Whether the company has bought into the topic or not. or top and tail it? Expressed like that. customers buy our products or services. or help or be involved in the sessions in some way? Naturally. Now you and I needn’t agree with any of this. and there some. Another term which defines the process of interacting with clients is Customer Service. It just needs a little more work.
Pioneer a Departmental library
In many organizations, the salary bill will be one of, if not the, major item of expenditure. One of the tasks for which your manager will be responsible, is to help and encourage staff to develop. Depending upon the enlightenment of your organization or your manager, this will be achieved in a variety of ways. In one of the IT companies in which I worked, it was mandatory for each employee to take 10 days of formal training every year. They funded training in a wide range of relevant topic areas, believing that the company’s effectiveness was improved by having their employees undertake this continuous education. At the other end of the spectrum, on a consultancy assignment in a public sector organization, I discovered that there was no training budget for the department in which I was operating. Staff who were interested in self-development were left to their own devices. In this instance, the lack of funds was put forward as the justification for being unable to provide for staff development. If your manager shows an interest in the staff development issue, there is a simple method to show your understanding of the importance of this aspect of their responsibilities. It doesn’t matter whether your company supports staff development through formal training courses, like the IT company, or if there isn’t the budget to enable an adequate level of training to take place, like the public sector department. This simple suggestion involves the creation of a small library of business and selfdevelopment books to be located in your department. At this stage you don’t need do any research into what might be appropriate and relevant topics. Your objective is to conceive the idea and then present it in outline form to your manager. In the proposal, you should identify the advantages of the scheme both to the manager and to the organization. The beauty of this idea, like many others in the book, is that you have had the desired effect merely by taking the suggestion to your boss. You have shown an awareness of an important area for which he or she has responsibility, and you have put forward a positive proposal which might be used to complement other activities taking place in this key area. Mission accomplished! Incidentally, if you are particularly interested in books and self-development, then you could volunteer to personally implement and manage the project. You would need to ascertain what books might be appropriate, what the budget requirements would be, where the library could be located, what book issue/discharge system would be required etc. Don’t do this unless you really want to - you should really spend any spare time you have in deciding upon your next activity in the influencing campaign. 6 Visit other Departments in the organization
Hands up if you are one of those people who just gets on with the job, and you never wonder how you, your colleagues, or your department fit in to the overall scheme of things. You’re not alone here - 90% plus of employees typically display little interest in their organization outside of the immediate work area or office. Let’s step back a second, while I make a most obvious statement - only one person at a time can be Managing Director or Chief Executive Officer of the company. It doesn’t take a genius to make that observation. What is of interest, however, is that those who reach these lofty positions have a number of common attributes. One of these is an enquiring mind, and a preference to be aware of the bigger picture rather than get bogged down in detail. This could be expressed as the ability to know a little about a lot, as opposed to a lot about a little. That’s fine, I hear you say, but how does this help me? Well, this is an important piece of intelligence which you can now use to make your manager sit up and take notice of you. I am not recommending you adopt a full frontal attack here, like, “When the MD leaves, can I have the job”? As you will see, you can be a shade more subtle, and still achieve the desired effect. To take advantage of knowing of that this is an attribute of successful people, all you need to do is to show an interest beyond the average. This can be achieved with a simple request, the like of which it is unlikely your manager will have had before. Ask your boss if it can be arranged for you to visit other departments or units in the company. You would like to know what they do and how they fit into the overall picture. You thought that the logical starting point might be departments with which you currently have contact in normal day-to-day activities. Naturally, you’d understand if these visits had to take place outside of normal working hours, however some of the value would then be lost as you would be unable to talk to the staff involved. Simply by making this request, even if it is turned down, shows you to be a wide thinker, someone who is demonstrating an interest beyond that of the normal employee. Any boss who has read the designated management books or taken the obligatory training course, will understand the implications of a request of this nature from a member of their staff. Whilst becoming Managing Director or Chief Executive Officer might have to wait, there’s no reason to delay subjecting your boss to this simple example of your influencing capabilities. 7 Learn about a new IT issue and produce synopsis
You will know how important IT has become in the modern world. Changes brought about by the use of IT in our private and business lives are set to accelerate. Some of these changes might be considered beneficial, others may be questioned. Whatever your view, change continues to be the only certainty. The digital age is happening all around us. The internet is a startling example of how quickly new technology can become established. Consider these facts:
Radio took 38 years to achieve 50 million listeners Television took 13 years to achieve 50 million viewers Internet took just 4 years to achieve 50 million users The increasing presence of IT in our lives provides you with an excellent opportunity in your influencing strategy. If you have an interest in IT, this will be easy. If your boss is similarly interested in IT, then your prayers have been answered. If you’re not sure whether technology is a fascination of your boss, there are some tell-tale signs you can look out for. Tangible giveaways would be PC or internet magazines on their desk, the bookshelf or just piled on the floor in the corner of the office. Also, PC software manuals next to the management books, and software boxes on top of cupboards. What you’re trying to sense here is if the boss has an interest above and beyond that which is required to fulfill his or her job. Without wishing to be sexist, the chances are higher that male managers will be inclined this way, because men have a disproportionately high interest in electronic gadgets, and Personal Computers are definitely on the gadgetry list. The starting point to using the IT element into your influencing campaign is to ascertain which specific areas of the topic are of relevance to your boss. Fortunately, PC technology changes rapidly and there are always going to be new developments for the gadget minded manager to consider. If you engage your manager in a conversation about their PC, you will almost certainly find they are thinking of some upgrade or change. For example, they might want a new printer, or scanner, or monitor, or piece of software. All you have to do is offer to bring together information to assist them in making the right choice from the myriad of options which will undoubtedly be available. One of your options is to undertake this investigation yourself. Another, is to get someone you know to do it for you. The latter route is strongly recommended. Fortunately there are a multitude of amateur sources who would be more than happy to demonstrate to you they know the answer to your request for information. Every office has someone who is known to be the local “whizz kid” at computing. Instead of using official channels where the response might take days or weeks, this person will be mercilessly used by everyone in the office to handle all manner of PC problems. Even at home, every family with a PC will have established informal access to someone who is their personal port of call for PC matters. Even if they can’t provide you personally with the information you’re seeking, they will always know a man who can. Write a short synopsis on your findings relating to the issue you offered to investigate, and submit it to your manager. This may be filed instantly, but your
But they may well be interested in the details of the company car scheme. Not only does it show you to be understanding of the issues they face. on occasion. Being the acknowledged office expert in the company pension scheme makes you a helpful colleague – and that’s about all it achieves. “Has anybody seen the new company car list?” “What do you think of the changes to the appraisal system?” The beauty of using such a technique with your colleagues is that they are helping you to rehearse for the real thing. How do we do this? We concentrate our learning on areas which are likely to have relevance to our boss. who would you ask about this first? Or company car parking spaces? Or the type of toner needed for the new photocopier? Or the agenda for the next departmental meeting? You can see we’re not talking here about R & D capabilities. areas and topics of relevance to your manager. By now. You need to be far more cunning than that! Let me make it clear. But let’s try and add some value to the status which you can achieve through gaining the said knowledge.and if you don’t make it your job to undertake the small amount of research to find out .initiative will have an influence on how you are perceived by your boss. then drop the topic into office conversation as the opportunity arises. Mission accomplished. This is when you enquire of your manager’s view on the specific item. or the corporate communications policy. or the employee appraisal system. He or she is unlikely to want to know what type of toner the new photocopier requires. Select an area such as this. It’s just that some people become known for having specific knowledge which. can be requested by others. But there’s something missing.which are the job and employment items. Picking topics which relate to your boss is winner for you. you should be able to work out for yourself what that is. It doesn’t improve your career aspirations. Sharing it on demand is another. it is certainly not a waste of time to become known as an “expert” in some work related topics. You should already know . Unfortunately neither of these capabilities do very much for the individual by way of having a direct impact on their future. Of course colleagues will appreciate the input. and become more knowledgeable in it than the average employee. There is little value to you in being perceived by your peers as being someone who is knowledgeable in a specific topic or indeed topics. 8 Become an "expert" in a topical area Have you noticed how individuals at work become associated with a specific topic or area of information? You can test this for yourself. I’m not saying drop into the conversation the fact that you consider yourself to be an expert in a particular topic! Asking a loaded question works well. Simply having the knowledge is one thing. if you are able to 25 . If you had a question on your company pension scheme.
Remember you have an ulterior motive in undertaking the task. and you never see them from one year to the next. the layout of an office remains the same for years. if you think about it. who in your company has the responsibility to suggest how an office layout should be changed? It varies enormously from company to company. The staff. conveying the idea and benefits to your boss of a new layout for your office. if you’re lucky. If your manager wants to go ahead with this particular suggestion of yours.but the timing was wrong. that and the other”. the manager of the location. what happens after that? Once the initial effort has been made to create the environment. In fact. plus health and safety will want to be consulted. and they have a commitment to the final design. take your thoughts and findings to your manager. then you will have made your mark. In other words. Can’t be bad. we tend to fit into where the desks. and the boss thought there were some brilliant ideas in the proposed design . you’ve still achieved your influencing objective. Despite changes of workload. 9 Seek to improve office layout In most organizations.supply genuinely helpful information to your boss then your star will be in the ascendancy. On the other hand. responsibilities. The sole reason you’re working on this is to enhance your manager’s view of you and your capabilities. The interesting question is. The staff have all had input into the scheme. If your unit is like this. Ask others for their views of the current layout. This is only natural. The new layout will improve “this. Don’t allow yourself to get too carried away this one. No wonder changes are infrequent. where the office layout seems to have been static for ages. personnel. filing cabinets and cupboards are located. You tried your best for them. will they be unhappy? Well. if the manager decides to leave it with the status quo. You will be seen as the initiator of a zero cost improvement. Sometimes these people are based in head office. personnel. And. is more important to you than the implementation of it. as offices are designed at a point in time to meet specific functional criteria with the staffing that exist then and. then what? Does anyone check on a regular basis whether things have changed sufficiently for the original layout to be modified? It’s unlikely. taking into account known changes. and we make do with what has evolved around us. It might be an estates department. as you now know. So. Perhaps we can look at it again in the future? 26 . systems etc. not with you. think about changes that might be made to improve things. the beauty of your influencing campaign is that your objective can often be achieved through the perception of an activity as opposed to carrying it out.
Ask for ideas from the staff. Alternatively. 11 Suggest steps that will improve internal customer service When companies place a focus on customer service what they usually mean is that they are looking to improve the service to external customers ie people who buy from your company. And organizations should spend time devising ways of enabling their own Departments to provide a better service to other Departments. or the fact that you have to get up from your desk to pick up the ringing phone of a colleague? Office equipment tends to be acquired and replaced on a needs must situation. without being asked. Did you realise. This is excellent exposure for you. somewhere will realise that maybe. something should be done about it. How often have you felt embarrassed at the quality of your photocopies. and your manager will be grateful. a general edict will come down from on high and a certain item of equipment will get replaced throughout the company. for the good of the company and the staff. Other than computers. Even if he or she decides not to invest in the suggestions. Another initiative taken. What new equipment is around that might make the processes more efficient? Take this to your manager – it will be useful to create a simple cost benefit case. Think of ways in which improvements can be made. But internal staff are customers too. It is quite normal to live with office equipment which is troublesome or giving lousy performance or is just plain obsolete. because this is an opportunity which you can exploit. that switchboards used to be written down over twenty years? breaks down. or the binding you use to create the booklet you send out. Eventually someone.10 Suggest change in office equipment that would be more effective Do you ever feel that your office is the poor relation? Have you seen brand spanking new office equipment being delivered to your company. whether this is necessary or not. 12 Identify company and management inconsistencies 27 . Harness these ideas and take them to your manager. you’ve made your point. only to find the items are destined for another department? Don’t feel jealous. it is most unusual for anyone to really review if new ways exist to handle traditional tasks. Do some research and ask colleagues. There is ample room to suggest ways in which your Department could improve in the way they interact and serve other units within the company. for example.
unit or company. they let other peoples’ phones ring incessantly etc Think about how to change these things. ask colleagues for their views. Added value at nil cost is a welcome message for management. Going the extra mile is not something they associate with themselves in their job. suggest that you’re happy to organise and orchestrate the resolution programme. Ask around in your Department about newsworthy items and people. Note these areas and take your findings and recommendations to your manager. But they don’t have the monopoly on good ideas. Local press coverage is good for the company. In this kind of circumstance. good for staff. you will see the evidence of this. to both staff and management you’re a winner. good for the manager and good for you. If he or she accepts that something could be done. Often relations with the press are managed centrally from a PR or Communications Department. 13 Suggest tangible ways in which your unit can add value In many organizations it is true to say that staff are going through the motions. bring it to the attention of your manager. 16 Ask if you can conduct a survey of memo and e-mail traffic 28 . And. They are probably doing what is necessary. Whenever you become aware of a problem that exists. as the bearer of these glad tidings. It’s difficult not knowing if they are meeting the requirements or performing to the expected levels. and they will not be particularly interested in local. currently below the surface. 15 Suggest ways of getting your company or your people in the news Everybody wins when the company gains positive press coverage. How can this situation best be improved? Bring the issue to the attention of your manager. make it your objective to find out what’s going on. If you detect this is prevalent in your Department. and offer to liase with the local press. your stock will rise! 14 Inform your Manager of any internal problems you know are about to break By keeping your ear to the ground and developing your network of contacts in the organization.they don’t sell on. and no more.There is nothing more destructive in corporate life when staff are confused or uncertain about the expectations the company has of themselves. Decide where your loyalties lie. but which may escalate and impact on your Department. community style of news items. and think about this yourself. It shouldn’t be difficult. By observation. Take the ideas to your manager. and you will be rewarded. People just take orders .
Give staff trust. Indeed. becoming virtual strangers to each other. Methods of limiting these would also be part of the task. You will organise it. That the company and the management are losing out here. Your manager will be viewed in a good light too. plus the re-emergence of mature internal communications to the benefit of the business and everyone involved in it. and produce summaries of how many memos and e-mails are flying around. isn’t it? 17 Suggest a review of any telephone dialling restrictions In some organizations the staff cannot dial certain telephone numbers. value to the business etc. and they will perform miracles for those who place their trust in them. your manager may publicise this to his circle of management contacts as yet another example of where his Department is taking the lead. Be Noticed 29 . This really has very little to do with why the company is in business. (The manager will know anyway if anyone abuses this freedom. the guilty few are used as the excuse to inconvenience the innocent majority. because itemised billing indicates what calls are made from each extension) 18 Offer to manage the induction process for new starters in the Department If your organization does not have a good induction process.In some organizations. memos and e-mails are being used as a way of demonstrating activity rather than as way of contributing to the business. Of course if this initiative is successful. Increasing his kudos is good insurance for you. Be Unusual. This shows you as being a person who can rise above conventional wisdom to produce benefits to all of the parties concerned. Suggest that a survey is undertaken of memo and e-mail traffic in your Department. Suggest that your manager authorises this routine. number of cc's. Like the sleeping-policemen humps in the road. particularly if this new scheme is picked up by other Departments. The outcome should be savings in time and money. with copies going to all and sundry. Great idea of yours. and begin using it immediately. then prepare an outline which is your recommendation for this process. Even directory enquiries can be a disbarred number. Departments can communicate totally by memo and e-mail. They can even conduct war by e-mail or memo. It will give new starters a far better impression of the company and the Department. Suggest to your manager that these restrictions could safely be lifted. Clever switchboards are responsible for this masterpiece in enabling your management to perfectly demonstrate their lack of trust in staff.
Common sense says there must be a potential problem here. The free publicity is useful. Each day is pretty much the same as the last. By regularly suggesting new ideas. particularly one which is for good. And your reputation will be enhanced. There’s no reason why they should as they will undoubtedly wish to be involved in the subsequent publicity – both external and internal! Somehow I think you now know how to ensure that your name is associated with this success. for example at appropriate business/trade functions. and he or she will love the limelight – corporate and personal. conferences or exhibitions. business and training organizations. 1 Arrange for special activities to raise funds at work for a charity Every week in the local press you will see checks being handed over by organizations to charities. And who do you think will reap the benefits in the future for having given them these new platforms from which to shine? 3 Suggest a review of your company’s ecological position Although it can sometimes be difficult for hard pressed managers to see it. The main idea is that people bond around a common cause. That’s why you should propose to your manager that he or she takes the initiative to let you organise some high profile charity activities. but is only part of the reason why companies go in for charity work. shop around for appropriate speaking engagements which they could fulfil. Knowing what you do about your manager’s expertise and interests. This could be at local locations. 30 . If the company can get its staff working together as a team in the aid of a charity. One of these wider issues which has gained in prominence in recent years is concerned with the survival of the planet.Working life tends to grind on and on. We’ve all heard of greenhouse gasses. and of the effect of carbon monoxide emissions on the ozone layer. can you put their name forward? Everyone likes their ego to be massaged from time to time. And this presents you with an opportunity. some of this teamwork will spill over into their work relationships. there are aspects of life which are bigger than the company and its performance. you will be noticed. although few of us probably really understand the issue in any depth. it is a smart move to engineer more opportunities for him or her to indulge in that occupation. 2 Suggest you offer your boss as a speaker at relevant business events If your manager likes public speaking. Tell your manager you’ve been asked to find a speaker for xyz (an organization you already know wants someone like your manager to present). They will find it difficult to refuse. Or it could be regional or national. You can break this tedium by suggesting activities which will be of benefit to your boss – and you (of course). like trade.
how to differentiate it from other problems.It is not the place of this book to preach to you on the topic. although if your curiosity has been aroused to the extent that you want to learn more about this area. You will have demonstrated your own initiative. 31 . in that he or she will be viewed by their own manager as someone with wider interests than the norm. indeed whether they themselves have it! As you know. equals an opportunity for you! Get to work on a little project. how it can be detected. showing a concern for the company which goes above and beyond the call of their duties. There are plenty of sources for this information. someone who puts forward creative and proactive ways to position the organization. Armed with this intelligence. then that would indeed be a worthwhile benefit. It will be doubly valuable. A proposal from your manager regarding an ecological stance for the company would certainly achieve the differentiation objective. go to your manager and suggest that it is time the company takes the initiative on this sensitive issue. Most organizations have no formal stance on ecology. a topical area where your manager’s knowledge is suspect. Find out the basic facts on stress in the workplace. Could he or she perhaps take this forward? If they have anything about them. The purpose of including this matter is to say that it is not just an issue for each citizen . They are aware it exists. To turn this opportunity into a benefit for you. Managers’ are always looking for an angle to differentiate themselves from their colleagues on the same level. The fastest way to find this out would be in the organization’s Annual Report. and support. Not because they have rejected it. The quickest way will probably be as simple as a call to your own Personnel Department contact.it is something which enlightened companies take seriously too. 4 Suggest a stress control initiative Stress is one of those “hot topics” about which the average manager knows no more than anybody else. all you need do is a small piece of research to see what stance your company has on ecological matters. but usually because it hasn’t been raised at the right level with any sense of urgency or relevance. You might find the Personnel Department has already issued guidelines on stress to the company’s managers. however. They will undoubtedly have pamphlets and leaflets on the subject – although they may well be in a pile gathering dust. Another idea to help them look good? Yet again your card will be marked by your boss for all the right reasons. but they will usually have little concept of precisely what it is. they will see the opportunity you are presenting and milk it for all it is worth.
6 Re-decorate the office to improve staff performance 32 . taking full advantage of the situation. A really switched on manager could go even further with this one. Build the case to take to your manager suggesting he or she authorises some team building training. Find out what is available. doing something about it is quite another. Place yourself as the organizer and contact point.It’s unlikely management has had time to read these guidelines yet or. He or she would be delighted to provide other managers with the details of how to implement such an initiative. from whom. the manager might wish to express surprise that fellow managers have apparently not given this important issue the prominence it so clearly deserves . the manager’s secretary will have helped immeasurably by intercepting the document and filing it under Health and Safety. In today’s workplace. The manager. Suggest that a stress awareness initiative be set up in your Department at your manager’s instigation. can report upwards on this new programme which he or she has introduced. This applies to virtually every type of activity and every type of work environment. so they can introduce this in their own departments. in very efficient offices. Emphasise the two-way benefits of stress prevention and detection. At least they’ll know where to find it when it is needed! Armed with the knowledge you have gleaned. encouraging staff to work together is an effective contributor to productivity. stress is a serious issue. both positive and negative. Don’t go all stressed on me! This book has 99 other suggestions which will help ensure you influence your boss to see you as the most valuable member of the team. performance and loyalty.particularly bearing in mind the potential consequences on the company. And it would indeed be beneficial if more employers were made aware of the issues and how they can help. and which is so important to the well being and ultimate performance of the staff. Your manager will appreciate you getting this initiative underway in this highly topical area and you will gain valuable experience and exposure. but don’t worry if you feel it is inappropriate to raise it in your organization. Knowing about stress is one thing. Do some research into team building training. you would volunteer to be the organizer of the initiative and act as the interface to the bodies or people who need to be involved. For extra effect. if it would help. discuss your research with your manager. 5 Suggest team building training In many organizations. This important topic deserves attention. of course. Naturally.
You’ve done your bit. Whilst wholesale office re-decoration can be very expensive. Suggest to your boss that he or she regularly invites another senior manager from a different Department to visit your unit and provide feedback on what they see. flattering for the visiting manager. everyone gets used to and accepts their environment. You will know from your circle of contacts within the company of individuals who you feel could be a useful addition to your Department. their opinion of your company will be being formed on the basis of their trip to your offices. If that visitor is a customer or prospect. Take your ideas to your manager. Their eyes can see what you can't. They live in it. A moment’s thought should tell you that there may be repercussions if your manager is promoted. You can arrange the diaries etc Offer to accompany the visitor. Most people will think of the negative implications . Your manager will be better appreciated and respected. some plants. Good for your manager. and yet will repay the company many times over. a water dispenser etc. That’s all you need do. because someone ie the manager. pictures on the wall. the staff will feel wanted and valued and you? You are a hero.The environment in which people are asked to work will impact on their performance and attitude. so does your manager. A strong team is good for the team. They will understand the inter-Departmental politics far better than you in terms of deciding how or if they should go for the person identified.like what happens if I don’t get on with the new manager? Will my own job be threatened? 33 . and not bad for you having instigated the idea in the first place. Make the case that staff will perform better. 9 Help your manager to get promoted You may not have given it much thought. is at last taking an interest in their environment without having to be asked. and shown you are interested in the success of your Department and of you manager. While you have your own agenda in trying to get promoted. but your manager is in corporate competition with fellow managers. there are ways of refreshing dowdy areas that won’t cost a fortune. note the observations and produce a synopsis of these. Ask to be the interface. Have a look around your place of work. They can't or don't see the obvious that a newcomer will. Are there any areas which really do need renovation? Imagine how these places could be spruced up simply and easily through a coat of paint. better lighting. 7 Identify staff in other Departments who will strengthen your unit Good managers are always looking to strengthen their team. Pass this information to your manager. 8 Suggest an outsider comes into the office and observes Over time.
If you have implemented your personal strategy correctly. The manager’s initiative would eventually get widely reported throughout the company. Your objective is to spread the word about your manager far beyond the boundaries of their own department or unit. If all your good work succeeds and you help your manager to gain promotion. In fact. his reputation would be elevated and his chances of promotion improved. see if you can turn any of these successes into case studies. The second reason why you should be keen to see your manager promoted is the obvious one . the staff member had gained a supporter and ally.it leaves a vacancy. there were twelve people in the Department I was assisting and they each reported to the same first line manager. this could be you. So. Alternatively you will be very positively placed when your outgoing manager is asked to express an opinion on who the replacement should be! 34 . Naturally the story wouldn’t get progressed until the computer system was proven to be a success. and therefore excellent material for the approach outlined. As the person who recognized how to build up this opportunity on the manager’s behalf. you may find yourself subject to an offer to join him or her in the new opportunity.talk to your company’s marketing communications department. Offering to be first-in-line attracted attention from the company’s senior management – which was clearly one of his motivations. but he was flattered by the attention. and the option to take one of the tried and trusted lieutenants could be a sensible strategy. It may even be relevant for the business press . why not become your manager’s surrogate PR advisor. the promotion of your manager is one of your objectives – and there are two reasons for this. Get achievements into the company’s newsletter. for you. and make these the basis of your PR “campaign”. First of all. you should be seen as the natural successor. If you’ve played your cards right. Also. But how do you do this? Well. as a positive and ambitious individual won’t allow yourself such thoughts. This individual was known to be ambitious. When working as an external consultant for an IT company. and ensure that their achievements are fully recognized? Think about any initiatives your manager has been responsible for. then send a written copy of case studies to influential people within the company. with a view to promoting his gesture. One of his twelve staff suggested and arranged for the company’s in-house magazine to contact the manager. Suggest that your manager gives talks or presentations on their successes. The first is that any promoted individual moves on with some degree of uncertainty. One of the initiatives which the manager undertook was to suggest his department be the “guinea pigs” to try out a new computer program designed to speed up order processing. you should take it upon yourself to help your manger to get promoted. This type of positive attention may or may not get your manager promoted .You. It was a win/win for the staff member. tell your circle of contacts in the company and get them to network the good news.but it certainly does no harm to you.
the new computer system never did work properly and was quietly shelved. They believe the messenger could get damaged. 10 Identify talented people in your own Department This is a double-edged sword. you know you will be getting actions to do. 11 Suggest a recognition system for staff who are not in direct sales In many companies sales staff have opportunities to win awards with their performance. the twelve-to-one shot came up trumps for that particular employee. Not only will you be popular with your manager and the staff. Don’t wait to be asked or told. but not many. that you are pleased to bring such people to the attention of your boss. In your Department or unit. now is the time to get one started. is tremendously important.do you think they will be falling over themselves to deliver any thing other than good news? Of course not. After a meeting or discussion with your manager. You need to calculate if they represent a threat to you and your job. No article was produced either. then be a good team player and ensure your manager is aware of such individuals so that he or she can maximises the potential from these protégés. “I’ll take care of it”. you may decide to keep quiet about their capabilities. guess who was promoted into his job? That’s right. This proves your believe in your own capabilities. 35 . have award schemes for non-sales staff. Try it. If a talented person could represent a threat to your ambitions. 12 When in a meeting with your boss. Yet it’s bad news that has the potential to damage the business. But. there will be people who are going places. Some organizations. Even if it’s just within your Department. and the people in it. A Manager will be told what staff want him or her to hear . you might even get recognized yourself. always bring bad news to your Manager quickly Staff will fall over themselves to bring good news to their managers. Saying that you’re going to do it before you do it.Incidentally. say "I'll take care of it" There will always be a place in the world of work for anyone who says “I’ll take care of it”. don't go overboard. but that didn’t stop the ambitious manager from being promoted soon afterwards. 13 Whenever you have it. Offer to organise and manage such a scheme. If yours doesn’t. If they are not. When he moved on. Volunteer the magic words. Your reputation with your manager will rise in leaps and bounds. Recognition from their peer group is a strong motivator for most people.
the sky’s the limit for them . Indeed. people all face each other.housing someone who wishes to be apart from. then your manager has shown respect for the time of everyone else at the meeting. But certainly most of the time. If the culture of your organization is to hold lots of meetings. and not a part of the team. and nothing to lose. If the call is important. In fact it is quite the reverse. how much more impressive it is not to take the call. this really works. if you can get your manager to act like a statesman. Some people will never go and speak to their Manager.and for you.An outstanding Manager will want as much advance warning as possible about impending bad news. take it upon yourself to deliver the bad news first . and individuals are far more likely to feel part of the process and contribute with conviction. Show your manager that he or she has a lot to gain. (Assuming they’re able) Meetings will take less time. It is acknowledged that most meetings in the business world are inexpertly conducted and thus an extremely inefficient use of time. 16 Recommend that your boss doesn't take phone calls in meetings This is not suggested as a criticism or a put down.it will turn into good news for you. Decisions will be taken quicker. Persuade your boss that he or she is too important to be interrupted at the behest of another person. his unit. The door shouldn’t be open all the time there are always occasions where privacy is important. tell your manager.given the invitation offered by an open door.. By going circular. If the call isn’t important. To position himself. whoever it is will ring back. his people. Get him or her to set the trend whereby for the meetings they hold. People will stick to the point. 17 Suggest your boss holds meetings where everybody stands up Not another cranky idea? No. there is no head of the table. Tell your manager that if he or she wants highly productive meetings then a good way is to remove the focal point of the table. not really. everyone has to stand up. his company etc. Wow. try this suggestion on your manager. 14 Suggest your boss replaces his rectangular conference table with a round table Another off the wall suggestion? Well. but others will . dare to be different! 15 Ask your boss to leave his or her door open A closed door can be interpreted as a closed mind . So. Go on. 36 .
or after hours. Many organizations already conduct large scale customer satisfaction surveys.and improving your promotion prospects – at the same time as learning new skills. and your contribution to this fame will have helped you to make your mark too. It’s very simple. they should). Suggest that you take on the planning and running of this scheme. 18 Propose interchanging of staff 99% of staff just do the job they’re asked to do. This needn’t be a large exercise. Finding that information is key to the company’s development and. So what could be better than you impressing your boss . then suggest the idea to your manager. 2 Offer to organize an unofficial customer satisfaction survey Your manager will know that the opinion that is most relevant is that of customers. This sort of activity also lends itself to local and company news coverage. you will of course have to be included in any publicity. Propose to your manager that it would be an excellent initiative to put on first aid classes for staff members on a voluntary basis.You can be sure your manager will get talked about. Sounds good to me! 1 Suggest a first aid initiative In many organizations. (If they don’t. and give them a new focus and interest. If this can safely be arranged in your environment ie without detriment to the business. The whole exercise would be good for staff. Frequently this is not particularly helpful to your manager who might be responsible for a relatively small area of the company’s 37 . and be happy for that. the principle is what is important. And that’s not being talked about!” Oh. Why not suggest you initiate a rota and co-ordinate it. St Johns Ambulance will be delighted to co-operate. ultimately. Self-development for Free I am a great believer in self-development. They wouldn’t dream of asking or suggesting a change in the tasks they undertake. improving personal skills and knowledge always pays dividends. As the organizer and contact. the company and you. It could involve only one person at a time. the manager. Yet change can help to refresh people. survival. The volume doesn’t matter. I hope you are too! In my experience. first aid is a green or red box somewhere in the stationery cupboard – and that’s it! Every member of staff will benefit from some basic first aid training. One of the ways this can be achieved is by moving staff to another job within the Department or organization. These could take place at lunch time. There is always the chance that this knowledge could be life saving – in work and outside. As Oscar Wilde put it “There’s only one thing in the world worse than being talked about.
There is an incredible irony regarding training which I will disclose at the end of this topic – but please read through it first. Even if you had grand ideas about putting your new found knowledge into action. If you have the skill and the time. all the better! 3 Suggest your boss proposes your company joins local trade associations No matter how big an organization you work for. Aren’t you clever? 4 Ask to be sponsored by the company on business related education As you know. targeted. It’s also good to suggest you help in preparing the presentation your manager may have to give upwards. Let’s try a little test. For many people. It’s a positive move for the company and for the manager. Federation of Small Business etc. you’re soon back into the old routine. and it sits there waiting for your return. 38 . or in writing. or treated them as a laugh. on the results of this initiative. as will the visibility of the people who represent the company at the functions which membership confers. The problem is no-one has taken of your work whilst you’ve been away. Hands up if you have ever viewed such sessions as a chore. Business Associations. The visibility of the company will grow locally. Get the membership details. What he or she needs to know is how is his bit of the company performing in the eyes of the customers they serve. and design a list of survey questions accordingly. relevant survey to meet that need. and get your manager to agree to joining. Otherwise suggest you manage the initiative and be the interface between the manager and those involved in carrying out the survey. The simple way to start is to join the local business organizations eg Chamber of Commerce. Do you wait for your company to tell you which training programme you have to go on? I’m pretty sure you do – everyone else in work does. One way of demonstrating this is to show you are keen to develop your skills and attributes. the fact is that the premises in which you work form part of the local community. And decide how the results will be recorded and analysed. it is important in your influencing campaign to be different and to be positive. and regardless of the number of locations you might have around the world. Propose a specific. Take advice on what the manager would like to know. you could perform this yourself. At best it gets you away from your job for a few hours or days.activities or a specific group of customers. training courses or educational sessions at work are considered to be a complete waste of time. create the business case. Suggest how the survey could be conducted – by phone. There is business and personal mileage in the company being seen to play its part in that community. This is where you come in. And if you can attend that session. I thought so.
What training would you like to have? What are you interested in. Look as widely as you wish – university courses. professional training companies. anywhere and everywhere. Just by knocking on the door and seeking your manager’s advice. Make a list. you are thinking way beyond everybody else in the department. they still need to be told precisely what is expected of them. You might have difficulty persuading your manager that your company should pay for you to undertake a course on archaeology. CD-ROM based courses. can you be given the time etc? This is where the wonderful irony comes in. which can be connected to your job or your personal development? Research what is available to meet these needs. They may agree. You are demonstrating that you are keen to perform to the company’s requirements. the principle is that an employee is selected to work 39 . and ask for advice. it also brilliant for you. in a very constructive way. Take your list to your manager. You truly are one for the future! 5 Ask to clarify what is expected from you in your role On virtually every survey ever carried out as to the main problems that individuals experience in their role in an organization. you will have achieved the effect you wanted. Merely by asking for training sets you apart.How about a slightly different approach? Think about you for a moment. and you will adapt to changes suggested (you’re unlikely to be given any). 6 Ask if you can shadow a senior member of staff Shadowing is a technique which is frequently employed by enlightened companies. If you haven’t heard of it. Your manager cannot help but be impressed by the initiative you have shown in your own personal development. Although this is sad. however. you are also showing that you are part of that 1% minority who have the intelligence and confidence to ask the question in the first place. No matter how obvious the job title. Go and ask your manager. you’ve made your point. What does he or she recommend. Because it gives you the opportunity to show you are in that special 1%. How will they know they are doing what is expected? Having said all of that. what would be acceptable to the company. Whether or not your manager enables you to take up one of the training opportunities. are you doing your job to their satisfaction? Are you meeting the requirements? In what way can they suggest you improve to meet any shortfalls? This is yet another delightful no lose situation for you. The key here is to be sensible – you need to relate your training suggestions to value and benefit for your employer. that training in a foreign language could be of mutual benefit. Yet again. top of the list is that they don’t know what is expected of them. 99% of people won’t go and ask the question to find out.
not yet. Undertake a small project for yourself to find out about shadow schemes . The “double whammy” your interest in shadowing gives you is worth the effort. Many organizations will already operate a shadow scheme. Get yourself known as someone who wants to improve. should be abreast of such methods. First of all contact your training people or personnel department and request details of the shadowing scheme which your company operates. why not us? If you have a shadow scheme. Don’t spend months on this. ask for the opportunity. Be part of the 1% who dares to be different.at least it shouldn’t be! If you’re told there is no shadow scheme in your company. Whether or not a shadow scheme exists at your organization. The concept is that shadowing will expose the employee to a totally new level of experiences. as experts in the field of employee development. If there is such a scheme.after all this is a technique for the development of staff and they. How do you do this? It’s easy . whatever you find out about shadowing schemes will probably be more than anyone else knows in your company! With some relatively simple research you will be an expert. you want to be on it. bring out your research. Again. they will give you the details. It may form part of a wider process of personal development. which companies use them. After all. At the very least.alongside a senior manager or director for a specified period. more importantly. Gather any information you can regarding the success of such schemes. Don’t ask your own manager though. You’ve just been handed two ways in which you can impress your manager. Now is the time to see your manager. This is an excellent development opportunity for individuals as they will be observing at first hand the range of day-to-day issues facing the senior manager and. If there’s no shadow scheme. You don’t – you do the asking! This is the 99% – 1% principle. Try and establish if any of your company’s competitors utilize shadowing. 7 Ask for telephone training 40 . where they’ve come from. If you’re not sure if your company is one of these.just ask the question. find out. Shouldn’t shadowing be considered? Other organizations obviously think it’s a beneficial technique to offer their staff. People who the hierarchy believe can aspire to higher positions in the company. Most people wait to be asked. It’s not private . Those selected for such schemes are usually earmarked as employees with potential. and they’ve been reminded of your ambition. your training or personnel colleagues may already possess the information you want . helping them to gain a different perspective of their organization. and someone who will take the actions to make it happen. they should be able to point you in the right direction to source the information you’re seeking.what they are. this is excellent news. how these are handled. You’ve confirmed to your manager that you’re switched on to modern developmental techniques.
and develop them so that you are ready when called upon. and you want to learn and develop it as soon as they let you. You are preparing for the future. equally importantly. ambitious and seek a future with the company. would he or she like you to take it further? Would Billy Bunter like another cream bun? 8 Ask for meetings training Most senior people in any organization have had training in conducting and participating in meetings. Can he or she arrange for you to have this training please? Getting training in meetings. Understand the benefits of this type of training and find out who can provide it. You need to work on the skills now. As your aspirations are to reach senior levels. you have marked your manager’s card that you are forward thinking. you will learn some useful skills but. 41 . then you should consider using that culture to your advantage. will always be time well spent. 9 Ask for presentation skills training There is a perception that anyone wishing to go anywhere in business should be able give effective presentations. with colleagues or with customers. This is equally true whether calls are internal or external. it will almost certainly be of use at some point. Even if your current role does not require that you make presentations. go and ask your manager to submit you for training in giving effective presentations. don’t wait to be told to go on this training. Alternatively. you should have the opportunity during the training to meet and build relationships with people from other Departments and units who are likely to be senior to you. If you do go on the training. Any one of these contacts could be useful to you in the future. If that is the culture in your organization. What many companies don’t realise is that every telephone conversation has the potential to do good or to damage to the organization. You have the information and the contacts. If the telephone is a primary communications vehicle in your place of work. simply by undertaking telephone training. If you are given the training. it is not unreasonable that you ask to be prepared for the upward move. you argue. you and others need some training in its effective use. would it be possible to sit in as an observer on non-confidential meeting to see how senior staff conduct meetings? Even if you are not given permission to take the training. because you are always involved in meetings even though they may not currently involve senior people. Go and tell your manager that your research shows that the Department’s performance could be improved.Sales companies will often provide their staff with training in telephone technique. you’ve indicated how aware you are of the importance of this skill to your company. A simple question should be asked of your manager. If you can’t go on the training. You have nothing to lose. Take the initiative now.
You could do this for yourself. demonstrating that you understand the significance of new technology to your company. This might enable the company to save time. many people in work are hesitant and sometimes reluctant to subject themselves to computer training. Think of an area of computing that is relevant to your job. 11 Identify how new technology could be used now to change a current practice Quite often current practices remain the same even though there are new ways of handling them. it is inevitable that their reliance on computers and IT will grow. business as we know it would grind to a standstill.10 Ask for computer skills training Whatever organization you work in. as they will be seen as a manager who encourages their staff to develop themselves to the fullest potential. Your manager can see that he or she does indeed have a potential high flyer in the Department. 12 Ask to join a business association Part of your personal development should be to make business contacts with people from outside of your company. Your manager sees you are keen to develop and that you have wider business interests. you’ve also shown that you’re aware of the latest developments. Incidentally this will also reflect well on him or her. yet again. The best way to achieve this objective is to ask your manager to approve your membership of an appropriate local business association. and ask them to tell you what they are working on now. 42 . Indeed. money or both. Report your thoughts to your manager. that you are the sort of forward looking staff member any organization would be proud to employ. make a note of it. now or in the future. talk to a friendly contact in your Computer or Information Services Department. You have no such inhibitions. and ask for training in that area. without computers. It doesn’t matter what it is. but the route of seeking approval and funding is most important. It’s likely that whatever you’re suggesting is on the company’s list of prospective developments anyway – but you’ve shown. Ask your manager for any training that is available in this new topic. Talk about killing several birds with one stone! Not only have you approached your manager and volunteered for training in computers. and for this to be funded by the company. If you’ve had all the recommended training. Despite this. Look around your Department and think if any current practice could be replaced or enhanced by new technology. as you know the company is moving in that direction so critical to its future success.
Suggest this to your manager.13 Get a senior member of staff from another Department to speak at your team meeting Most staff have very little interest in other parts of their company. low cost way to become informed about what is happening and what is coming in your industry. 14 Ask if you can attend a relevant business conference Whatever business your organization is in. and to do the liaison. Naturally you will report back so that others can benefit from what you saw and heard. its performance etc. and it gets you known to another influential person in the company. It will help be more informed. Whilst attending would be very useful for you. it will be a smart investment of your time. and make contacts. And it can help to build bridges and foster team spirit and morale. Find out what exhibitions are relevant to your organization. You might calculate that attending as an exhibition visitor is good use of your private time – so take a day’s holiday and go for yourself. its markets. Or you might view that seeking company approval and authorisation is a better alternative – your manager sees you are keen. Whichever route you choose. your manager will be pleased. Difficult situations can escalate alarmingly and get out of hand. there will be business conferences which are applicable to you. it doesn’t really matter of you go or not – simply by asking you’ve made your point! 15 Ask if you can attend a relevant business exhibition Attending a business exhibition is an ideal. If 43 . Offer to do the arranging. its competitors. They are also useful places to check out the competition. 16 Ask for training in handling customer complaints In many organizations the manner in which they treat customer complaints is less then competent. Gather information about some of these. Now. you have a choice. and being selected to attend can’t do your prospects any harm. Finding out what other units are doing can help to give a different perspective and view on the company. Yet the performance of other parts may be critical to the success or even survival of your Department. work out the benefits to the company of you attending and ask your manager if you can go.
17 Subscribe to an appropriate business publication Whatever business your organization is involved in. or indeed anybody else. to keep you abreast of your industry. managers are told to release any of their staff who are on the team to attend to project team duties as required. Reach for the Stars One of the consequences of implementing your influencing campaign is that you will find your confidence growing. and this kind of difficulty arises. privatisation. nationalisation. If the job disappears you could be left high and dry. Offer to organise the training sessions. for example to review and improve personnel policies. Obstacles are easily overcome. There is no such thing as a job for life. suggest to your manager that more training is given in this area. 44 . Being happy at your job doesn’t mean your job will be there for ever. Don’t rely on your company. The pace of change in business has meant that organizations have to be lighter on their feet than ever before. One of the typical ways to achieve change is through the creation of project teams. the one certainty is that the environment in which it operates will change. and identify opportunities which may be there for the taking. Projects can be part or full time. If the subject warrants it. a project team might well be set up for smaller matters. Go for it! 1 Volunteer to become involved in company projects Projects are a tremendous growth area. Your job security can be impacted by a range of elements new competitors. The purpose of subscribing to the right business publication is to continually monitor what is happening in your business sector. In this instance. your manager. Many projects are superimposed onto the normal work of the team members. Knowing about any of these as far in advance as you can will enable you to plan for how you are going to minimise any adverse impact on you. other colleagues. Members of a project team would usually comprise staff from a cross-section of Departments within the organization. such as the implications of merging your company with another. brought together to work upon a specific requirement.your Department has the responsibility to talk to customers. monitor post training performance and provide the manager with feedback. On the other hand. Demonstrate that you understand that a customer complaint is an opportunity to show how good your company can be. the company may assign staff full time to a project. Take the responsibility yourself for keeping you up to date. A project team could be involved in a major issue. changing regulations. This is why you will be able to undertake some of the suggestions in this section which you might have thought were beyond your reach. They’re not.
The project required that we first had to understand the elements of that programme and then we had to define how the programme could be rolled out to 20. there was considerable buy-in from senior managers and the project team was a high powered group – I was the lowest level of manager present. the mentor scheme affords you a similar opportunity to that of shadowing (see Self-development for Free . 45 . and I still have the plaque and certificate I received in recognition of my involvement as a member of that team. The objective is to give promising people the benefit of direct contact with a senior person to discuss work situations. As might be expected for a project underwritten personally by the Managing Director .Whatever the size and shape of a project team. problems and opportunities. I was “offered up” by my manager as the token representative from his Region. When the project team convened. it is one of the fastest tracks available to improving your status and opening up new opportunities within the organization. The staff selected to be mentored are usually viewed as those most likely to develop into tomorrow’s high flyers for the company. During the course of this project. It was a lucrative promotion and it meant working for a new boss. The project was successful. each session lasting one hour. A mentor scheme is where the company allocates a senior person to be the mentor to one. As I was always the one expressing interest in personal development. we’d recently worked together on a quality project! Volunteer to go on a project today. I attended meetings in Head Office. Whilst working in a large company as a first level line manager. He wasn’t new to me of course. Depending on the nature of the project.Way 6). we found out that the particular quality improvement programme we were to implement had been selected personally by the Managing Director.000 employees in 80 locations.000 staff. I worked with and became friends with a number of very senior people in that company. I was offered the opportunity to join a project which was to implement a quality improvement initiative throughout the company. one per week. both in purchasing the licenses and materials for 20. Two months after I returned from the project I received a telephone call inviting me to run a new unit in the company. it is an excellent way for an employee to get known and enhance their status beyond the bounds of their own Department. members of staff. it is also probable that project team members will gain exposure to people who are at higher levels in the organization. but also in the manpower required to implement the initiative. The investment was considerable. Every employee had to attend ten sessions. or more. 2 Ask if you can be mentored by a senior manager/director In your battle to win recognition and ultimately promotion.
suggest to your boss that the current suggestion box scheme should be replaced or supplemented by ideas meetings. Of course you’d be pleased to manage the product. A more effective and proactive way of collecting new suggestions is to have ideas meetings. take the suggestion of ideas meetings into his own circle of peers – thanks to you! 5 Already got a suggestion box scheme? Refresh it by converting it into ideas meetings Using the model described in previous Way. ask for the opportunity. of tangible improvements which can be made in the problem area. you want to be on it. Gather the evidence of what this is costing in lost time. and it’s not bad for you either. why not us? If you have a mentor scheme. the ideas generated by this new method should qualify for these payments. you are seen to be the initiator of this new scheme. Propose to your boss that you organise ideas meetings. and good ideas command immediate support and therefore stand a high chance of succeeding. You can arrange the timetable and invites etc. lost opportunities as well as in financial terms. Build up the dual benefits. Try the following practical example. improving telephone sales. But a project on what? It could be anything. Your boss can. such as cutting out unnecessary bureaucracy. of course. Remember. Poor ideas are rejected by peers. modifying operating hours etc. why not? Shouldn’t it be considered? A host of other major organizations do it. You should know – if you don’t.Whether or not a mentor scheme exists at your organization. which you have been looking at for some time. plus the ownership of the staff having solved the issues themselves through their participation in the project. but deliver it as an ideas session Lots of people have good ideas but have difficulty in putting these down on paper and they can be afraid of looking stupid. If the company gives financial rewards in the suggestion scheme. reducing wait time in reception. Not only should the company benefit by some new ideas which may never have come to light. Suggest to your manager that you convene a project to look at this aspect. poor service. If there’s no mentor scheme. 6 Make more of your personal contacts 46 . What a win for the manager. This is one of the real limitations of suggestion box schemes. and keep the manager informed of progress and outcomes. but also formally record the outcomes. you are in that special 1%. 4 Suggest a suggestion scheme. These can be highly effective. 3 Suggest a relevant project within the Department Suggesting. and not the faceless management. find out by asking – where the Department or unit is deficient or poor in specific activities or processes. taking charge of and delivering an in-house project is a superb way of promoting your own capabilities.
in relation to your company and your products and services? Say to them this is the one and only time you would like to mix business with friendship. As these do not happen too frequently. influencer. A method to harness their input would be of real benefit at several levels. and the staff have the satisfaction of knowing their views are valued. Have a look in your address book. Ask them in conversation. Real leads and business may be the result of this simple device. You’ve arranged your current role and responsibilities so that you are now in total control of them. you may be in a position to reciprocate. promoter etc. Here’s the important bit. 8 Propose brain storming sessions The most under utilised resource in any organization is the staff. the message is that you’re ready whenever the call comes. They won’t mind. And this is commendable. 7 Ask for more responsibility Promotions occur when a vacancy arises or when a new position is created. supplier. Is there such a thing as a win/win/win? 9 Offer to conduct a survey on the perception of others about your manager and staff 47 . This gives you organizational responsibility. You want to assist if you can. Knock on your manager’s door and ask for additional responsibility. and therefore the security of your position. you need to remind your manager of your capabilities. Who in there is a prospective customer. they may know someone else who might be interested etc And don’t forget. Thus the effectiveness is multiplied. Even if the manager doesn’t co-operate in this idea. Quite the reverse in fact. provides potentially useful input to your manager and the company. suggest to your manager that he gets all his or her staff to follow your lead. contact.Most people try and separate their work life from their private life. Are there any activities which others are doing that aren’t being performed to the manager’s satisfaction? You’re not saying you’ve loads of spare time here. Having found out how painless this process is. If it isn’t them. Simply encouraging involvement of staff who would typically not be invited to put forward their views outside of their specific area of responsibility is a positive process. Suggest to your manager that you facilitate brain storming sessions of groups of staff. But there are likely to be a small number of people in your circle of contacts who can be in a position to help in the success of your organization. get a management book out of the library and find out. and it’s all down to your idea. If you don’t know how to do this. Most people want to help their friends.
an external company could undertake this. Suggest a plan of improvement. Sign-in books which have seen better days. They frequently run out of pens. If budget is available. newspapers and company brochures strewn haphazardly around. pads. Just that work becomes a chore. No coat hanging facilities. If not. and they only do what is necessary to earn their pay. Genuine and local feedback like this is of tremendous value to your manager. What an impression for visitors to the organization! Remind your manager of how important this first impression is for your organization. And propose a rota system so that individuals have the responsibility for the quality of the reception area to ensure the improvement is maintained. By taking this initiative. 2 Tidy up the communal stationery system and storage Many organizations are inefficient when it comes to stocking and ordering day to day stationery items. you are demonstrating your understanding of the need to continually review the status quo. You know giving is more powerful than receiving – right? So try some of these Ways. Give the Employer Something It is a sad reflection on modern employment that many employees do not feel particularly loyal to their company. particularly to female guests. then suggest you facilitate a small group to conduct the process. Very few individual managers take this principle further and use it on a local basis to determine how they are perceived by their network of contacts. I don’t mean that they would sell the company’s secrets. remembering to include evidence of how poor the current arrangements are and what the consequences have been.Many organizations conduct surveys relating to customer and supplier perception of the company and its performance. What an opportunity! Analyse the position and. Badges which don’t fix properly. What a good idea. think up a system which remedies the problems. Take the proposal to your manager. and see how they repay you! 1 Suggest the updating and tidying up of the company’s reception area Have you noticed how untidy reception areas can be? Magazines. 48 . It isn’t difficult. This is usually because it is perceived to be such a menial task that often it is left to a junior or is part of someone’s responsibility who hasn’t got the time or interest in doing it properly. No welcome board or display to greet today’s visitors. Suggest to your manager that you arrange a localised survey regarding the manager and the Department’s staff. fax rolls etc. if your organization or Department is guilty of this. Much of the material is out of date.
is to have a small notice on the board itself asking staff to contact you if they have any comments about the state and quality of the notice board contents. manage the interface between the two organization. arrange for them to propose their services and then. Suggest a simple system to ensure what goes on the board is acceptable. no fee. And so on. 4 Offer to keep the Notice Board tidy and up to date Sometimes the smallest task can make the biggest impression. such as ISO 9000. 3 For Managers running a budget or profit center. Obsolete notices are never taken down . and the recognition. In many organizations the notice board can be described at best as being somewhat out of hand. Too often. A simple way of ensuring you get the credit. and that the board contents are maintained. administrative and office based processes are overlooked in terms of quality improvement. 5 Suggest quality improvement initiatives Quality initiatives are often seen as the preserve of manufacturing activities. and you can make sure that you are recognized as the process instigator when the positive results start to filter through to your manager’s bottom line. can be a daunting proposition. Attaining quality standards. The beauty of this suggestion is that you don’t have to do any work to achieve the recognition for the idea.Tell him or her that you will take responsibility for implementing your new system and of ensuring that the staff know what the new arrangements are. suggest ways of saving money Controlling costs is a key task for managers. This gives you ample opportunity to ensure that you are known to be the person who recognized the problem.you’re probably still advertising a training course which took place six months ago. Suggest to your manager that you find out who offers such a service in your area. Convince your manager of what an inefficient impression the notice board gives. or the internal job vacancy where the application deadline was eight weeks ago yesterday. A problem at work that has no apparent owner should smell like an opportunity for you. Notices are pinned on top of notices. But there are many interim steps which can be adopted by an 49 . thought up the solution and persuaded management to do something about it. whether they run as a profit center or are just working to a budget of spend. In this way you are involved in the line. both to internal staff and to any visitors who happen to see it. The reason notice boards get like this is that usually no-one owns the problem. There are hundreds of examples in every organization where costs can be reduced. There are professional cost control consultants now who work on a contingency basis ie no savings. which are pinned on top of notices. when one is appointed.
you only need to identify one additional resource . more relevant etc. If not. Then. Does it reflect the requirements of today? Are areas and activities covered which are now irrelevant or obsolete? Does it take three times as long as it should because the method is antiquated? With a little bit of research you can find what comprises a modern appraisal system. Use this research to help you persuade your manager that internal quality improvement initiatives would be a worthwhile venture – for him and the company. The manager attributes the good ideas to you. This is a win/win for you. and you will also have shown your interest in parts of the business that may not directly be in your area of responsibility. you can suggest to your manager that there may be improvements which can be made in the appraisal system This could save time. A sure sign of someone destined for greater things. But what is good quality? Observe areas of work in your organization where you know quality can be improved. Given the right prompting they will tell you exactly what problems they have with their job and the systems they work with.this is someone who can talk sensibly about quality in the context of your type of business. they are unlikely to have taken their dissatisfaction or their suggestions to any manager . all managers like having observations ready on systems which are imposed on them from the center. Armed with this. and then never get reviewed or changed. There are specialist companies who offer such systems.they won’t want to be seen to be “rocking the boat”. and your own contact in the Personnel Department will probably know what else is out there. you already have the contacts…. There may be an internal group within the company who have such a resource you can call upon. Strangely. think through the prospective benefits and present the alternatives to your manager. Ask for the thoughts of others too. Suggest that you can organise this.organization in a less formal style to achieve similar ends. Politically. 7 Propose improvements to the company's appraisal system Managers usually operate the staff appraisal system as directed by the center of the company. All you have to do is take the best of these ideas and suggestions. Find out as much as you can about these areas. or look in Yellow Pages under Quality Assurance. This is particularly true if it concerns a corporate 50 . Appraisal systems are often one of those activities which get implemented as a good idea at the time. be more effective. talk to the local Chamber of Commerce for the names of appropriate companies. Look at your own company’s appraisal system. Everyone agrees that quality is good for business. Ask them for their ideas on how to improve things. 6 Find and suggest ways to streamline systems and processes Most people are happy to talk on their favourite subject – themselves.
you have just awarded yourself a gold medal. Take a critical look at your company’s marketing and promotional literature. the company gets a contribution as to its marketing effectiveness and you have demonstrated your initiative and creativity again. observations and suggestions you receive. You might copy them to the Marketing Department. Your organization will. Although it hardly constitutes a formal survey. This information could be used in several valuable ways by your manager so. You will be surprised at the comments. marketing etc. Ask selective colleagues too. renovate. Compile these into sensible order and take them to your manager. You may also like to suggest a specific individual to carry out the task on the basis that they are more familiar with the content of the filing system concerned. and have had additions grafted onto the index mechanism. Well done! 10 Update. read opportunity for you! Look at the filing systems in your Department. Then go to your manager and suggest that efficiency improvements could be made if the particular filing system was overhauled. such as Human Resource or Personnel. Make it your business to find out who your major competitors are. Create your combined observations on competitor products. as well as giving him or her an assist. Where there’s a problem. they want to find that important document. Ask some colleagues to do the same. Check this out with others. 51 .Department. 9 Provide competitive intelligence and information Competition exists in every business sector. The outcome is usually a hotchpotch of a system. In most organizations the filing systems were set up years ago. refresh. The contents are usually generated without reference to anyone who might be considered as being at the front line of the company’s activities. Bring this information together at a discussion with your manager. that is. They get useful ammunition. Select the one that gives most pain to your manager. some or all of these at the appropriate time when he or she is attending meetings with other managers. or should have people who are responsible for monitoring your competitors. But there can never be enough competitive information. 8 Review the company’s marketing literature Most marketing literature for any organization is produced centrally. modernize filing system Filing systems are particularly unglamorous and of very little interest to anyone. The intelligence which you convey to your manager about the state of the appraisal system will be rewarded. Your manager will use one. it is very special competitive intelligence from people who know what they’re looking for. Until. company.
Ask others the same question. Physical security refers to buildings and car parks. 11 Look for physical security weaknesses and suggest improvements Security is an issue of growing importance for all organizations. your initiative will be noticed. in particular. This is a superb opportunity for your manager to gain lots of kudos internally. By taking it upon yourself to observe and ask questions. because “we always do the job in this way”. Look around and see if you can see any weaknesses in any of these areas. Summarise your findings including. you should look out for weaknesses in security which will allow others to gain access to data they should not be allowed to see or copy. Of course. Ask others who use computer systems if they can see any of these loopholes. no-one will have asked them about this before. But it was you who spotted the problem that effects the manager before anyone else. it is worth taking this outcome to your manager too. Even if the result of your enquiries is that security is good. or involve the participation of a number of people. Whatever the results.who you have suggested.This is some result for you. Take your information and suggestions for improvements to your manager. Think about how these could be improved. Also see if you can think of ways in which to correct these situations. The process may be carried out by one person. Take your findings to your manager. 52 . 12 Look for computer system security weaknesses and report on them Whenever you use a computer system at work. and therefore it’s you who gets the credit. 13 Identify weak links in processes Most processes in an organization are a series of tasks. You don’t have to do any of the hard work because there is an obvious candidate . thanks to you. and access to offices where people work. They will also usually have ideas on how to fix the problems. your thoughts on the implications of such breaches of security should they arise. paper files and documents. Here you are demonstrating your concern for the welfare of colleagues and of the company. you can find out from those involved where the processes they are concerned with have weaknesses or failings.
You know your company and its products. Nothing may happen. suggest the improvements. As he or she is likely to be measured on the bottom line and. 17 Identify any obsolete processes 53 . and do you no harm at all! 14 Identify bottlenecks. Find out any area where you think the current practice is costing the organization more than it should. Ask around and see if your Department is suffering from anything like this. you may even be a customer of those products. But they may not be fully aware of every purchase made or service entered into. and how it will develop in the future. and feel smug. 15 Identify where you believe money is being wasted Costs are one component over which your manager has some degree of responsibility and control – in theory. A consequence of this is that bottlenecks in processes are also not always obvious.The outcome of this research should be presented to your manager. and suggest ways to overcome In many organizations the growth in workload creeps up slowly and is not obvious. Having had your suspicions confirmed. Collate these ideas and submit them to the Marketing Department. suggest that this kind of review should be a regular feature for the Department. Take these findings to your manager. look for alternatives which are better priced or represent better value. This will benefit the company. find out the views of your colleagues and friends. Take the findings in to your boss. What would entice you to buy or use your company’s products or services? Ask around. is a real bonus for them and. copied of course to your manager. help the manager. What an employee! 16 Suggest ideas for marketing the company and its products or services Marketing Departments don’t have the monopoly on good ideas. of which they were not aware. of course. but your inventiveness and creativity will be noticed. a winner for you too. Ask your colleagues. Taking this a stage further. Any problem areas brought to their attention. they will be very pleased to hear from you on this topic. find out from the staff involved how they feel the situation can be alleviated. Tell him or her of the consequences of not doing something about the problem. While you are at it. in some cases have performance bonuses based on these numbers. Get a feel for the growth curve. Particularly as the normal employee interest level into areas outside of their job role is typically one of the apathy. but which don’t compromise on quality or service. You have taken it upon yourself to look for areas where processes can be improved. and offer to instigate a process and schedule to ensure it happens.
Every office is built on the basis that how it's done is passed on from generation to generation of staff. Are their reports and documents produced by or for your Department which are not now necessary? Or could they be delivered in electronic form? Take your summary to your manager. regardless of whether it is needed. 54 . Explain the reasoning and the benefits. the people who are best placed to identify what efficiencies can be made are the staff themselves. if and how they promote better etc. And your manager will appreciate your proactive approach in detecting these matters. Savings are great for the manager. Never assume that someone else will see what you see. we still churn out paper reports and documents at an alarming rate.In the work environment. whether they have better products or services. which could also be very beneficial to you and your career. once a report is produced it tends to keep getting produced to the agreed schedule. Find out how relevant these tasks are today. 18 Pass on observations about competitors Always keep your eyes and ears open in relation to the activities of your competitors. You might offer to oversee any changes. Look around. This may well prove to be a no-cost improvement for your manager. 20 Suggest the creation of efficiency improvement teams Many organizations bring in groups of experts to conduct efficiency surveys. Not many people ask why? If your Department has processes which are creaking. You could arrange the schedule and co-ordinate the results. Like many things in the work environment. Notice where and how they do things better. and co-ordinate the feedback. Get the thoughts of those carrying out the functions. 19 Identify any reports or documentation which are unnecessary Even in today’s world of computers and electronic communication. It is also true to say that imposing change is not the best way to ensure change is effected. and good for the company. how they could be improved or replaced. This could be tackled one area at a time. copied to your Manager. and ask others. Suggest a scheme to your manager whereby groups of people are given the responsibility for identifying changes to their sphere of operations and processes with the objective of making improvements. They are also useful for those who wish to keep a job. Ask others to do the same. this is an opportunity for you. Anything which saves the company’s time or money is a worthwhile proposal for which to be responsible. Feed your information into your Marketing Department. In reality. Take the findings to your manager. once a process is implemented it can be there for years.
Your manager will be seen to be proactive. Pick the latest one of these and do some research into it. You’re abreast of what is happening in management. Why allow someone else to threaten your livelihood? You are not responsible for them.and give it to your manager. If you can’t face a meeting on the matter. It doesn’t really matter if your report is merely “filed”. what it requires. Feng Shui would be an appropriate selection. in other words when an injured member of staff tries to sue the company for being negligent in conforming to these regulations.Muscle in to Move on The best way to demonstrate to your manager that you’re capable of promotion is to suggest initiatives which may be considered the province of management. At the time of writing. you prove things to yourself and to your boss. your job security can depend upon the performance of others. 2 Produce an outline of the latest management fad Managers are bombarded from all quarters with new management ideas and techniques. In other words. or disruptive behaviour. There is enough ignorance and potential fear around for you to convince your manager that it would be a sensible idea to convey health and safety information more formally. you’re up to date. 3 Provide feedback on non-performing or disruptive colleague As an individual. act like a manager! In this way. you have the right to do something about it. you owe it to yourself and your family to tell your manager of the problem. you did not appoint them. and you will naturally be right in the middle as the initiator and organizer. send an anonymous memo. Produce a short report – a synopsis . You’re ready for bigger things. But. and this impacts on the perception of others of your performance. Suggest that you organise such sessions. The Health and Safety Executive would be delighted to help. what it costs and how it’s implemented. arranging for and inviting relevant people to talk to staff about relevant aspects of health and safety. You’ve made your point. 1 Propose a health & safety at work initiative Most people at work have no idea what health and safety regulations relate to their job and their work environment. do something! 55 . If someone is causing your position to be insecure. Find out what it is. what it promises. If you allow a person to knowingly get away with under performance. In many companies the issue raises its head retrospectively.
if there enough interest. And don’t neglect this issue. If staff in your Department feel like this. you would be happy to convey your knowledge to others in the form of a presentation or training session. While you can’t change this attitude everywhere in the company. even if your company doesn’t appear to have this problem. you can make a start by suggesting a scheme in your Department to help restore belief and confidence in the company. 7 Suggest how your Manager can better communicate with his/her staff How often do you hear from the staff that they are the last to know? They feel ignored. its products or management. this will show in all their dealings and contacts. create the outline presentation.but you've made your point. it’s the lack of communication. On an ad-hoc basis you could probably compile a report. He or she may refuse . and your job. The best way is by communicating. Get hold of your manager. The root cause is simple. Offer to help set up channels of communication so that people can air their views and get replies from those in authority. 56 . 5 Combat staff cynicism Organizations reflect the feelings of their staff. Get these communication channels open and you will help to sustain your company. get invites out to staff in other parts of the company. Don’t let things fester. They don’t know what’s going on. Take the proposal to your manager that. The consequence of this spiral is obvious. it’s ensuring your manager is as effective as possible while at the same time giving you detailed exposure to some aspects of the management role. This isn’t crawling to the boss. think of ways in which this can be improved. 6 Offer to help your Manager Most Managers are too busy. They have more to do than they can effectively accomplish. fill out a return etc. and suggest that staff confidence needs improving. gather information or statistics. If the staff are despondent or disbelieve in their company. or their manager. If it’s relevant. It’s not the content of any communication that is usually the problem.4 Propose that you train other staff members When you are perceived as an expert in an area. Offer to help. yet most people contribute to it without thinking. other people want to know what you know. This shouldn’t be limited to staff in your own Department. “The company never tells them anything”. It’s amazing how your status will increases through being seen as the person who is leading the rest.
Suggest you can help by taking on some of the administrative aspects of the manager’s job. the company and you. Or ensuring company vehicles are clean . 8 Suggest new ways in which your Manager can appear in a more positive light Good managers know that they get maximum performance from staff if they have their respect. Examples might be relatively simple.Discuss this with your manager. How is the manager perceived in your Department or unit? You know how you feel about your manager. and the delegated tasks may bring you into contact with others from your manager’s circle who could be beneficial to your future. Take a straw poll. Or always answering your phone within three rings. Maintaining good performance in small areas such as these contributes to the reputation and well-being of the Department. How good is the manager? How could he or she improve? What need he or she do to gain their respect? Take your findings to the manager and suggest steps he or she might like to consider taking in the light of the feedback. 11 Suggest your Manager intervenes in a negative customer situation 57 .inside and out. Regular initiatives can help in achieving this. you should be able to detect activities which he or she could delegate – preferably to you. 10 Suggest your boss regularly starts new initiatives Most people need to be constantly reminded of the need to maintain high standards of quality and service. Suggest that you get some initiatives going and offer to organise and implement them. like not accepting written communications can go out of the office where the customer or prospect’s name is incorrectly spelt. ask others for their opinion. Another win/win for you. Suggest how it can be remedied. Or returning phone calls or e-mails promptly. If you have the opportunity to see the roles and functions of your manager. By saving their time you are building your reputation with your manager. They rarely have the time to review their workload objectively. You gain from being the one who has taken the initiative to do something about it. He or she probably doesn’t even know there is an issue in this area. 9 Suggest areas your Manager can delegate Managers are frequently asked to do more and more. Helping to make your manager more effective makes your job safer. This is the modern culture of corporate life. Your manager gains from being seen to recognize a concern of the staff and acting upon it. the manager.
it can become a regular. If they’re continually attending meetings back-to-back. Outsourcing can have variable results. It's worth checking what the position is in your Department. Sometimes decreased limits are brought in during times of financial pressure. bring customer relationships issues to the attention of your manager sooner rather than later. become a permanent part of the calendar and rarely be reviewed for current relevance. 58 . The outcome might save them time.All managers like to be associated with positive customer situations. Take it on yourself to ensure this happens. have probably been around since the year dot. Sign-off limits can be extremely restrictive and time-wasting eg "I have to go up two levels to get permissions to order x amount of value on stationery". and see how well they are being performed. good or bad. Pass the information to your manager. And your co-operation will be welcomed. Common examples are cleaning. 13 Review sign-off limits Sign-off requirements for purchases. and not let the manager see that this has arisen. However. If your role enables it. meetings breed other meetings and sub-meetings. With any luck it will go away. 12 Identify any outsource activity which is being performed in a sub-standard way A current vogue for many organizations is to concentrate on what they term “core activities”. expenses and the like. Find out what activities your organization has outsourced. it will certainly be appreciated by the staff. then they must be working hard! The reality is. The problem with this strategy is that bad situations have a tendency to get worse. and are never reverted back when the crisis is over. Ask your manager if you can review these. He or she will thank you for it. security and catering. meetings are one of the most inefficient ways for a company to take decision and make progress. by common consent. It will stick forever. Any good manager will want early warning of bad customer situations developing. Many people delude themselves into believing that meetings equate with work. Great managers will also get associated with negative customer situations. Whenever a negative customer situation arises the natural inclination of those involved is to hide the problem. Ask around. 14 Ask if you can review the regular meetings schedule In most organizations. A consequence of this can be that some activities are outsourced to other companies. And all because you had the idea in the first place. This could be very useful to him or her politically. once a meeting gets established.
Clearly if a major customer contacts initiative is subsequently announced. Talk this through with your manager. You are happy. because another of your initiatives has yet again set you apart as something special.If your manager seems to be engulfed in this. The worst you have done is cemented in your manager’s eyes the fact that you at least understand the importance of customers to the company. 59 . 16 Suggest new structure for your Department Departmental structures have a tendency to change when major re-organizations occur. If this is the case in your unit. propose that this process is undertaken for all the staff in the Department. Given your ambition. This is a simple way to claw back huge amounts of unproductive time. then you can be pretty pleased with yourself. They then seem to stay the same until the next re-organization. Appreciation will flow endlessly towards you. They rarely have the time to be in contact with the people who matter most to everyone working in the organization . You’ll research their standard meetings schedule to find out the relevance of individual meetings. 15 Suggest that every Manager and Director meets at least one customer each month In many organizations. suggest you undertake a review process for him or her. The staff will be pleased because they identified these in the first place. make it your business to find out what problems are being caused by this. and also provide another assessment of the interviewee.customers. And while you’re at it. because the staff have resolved a problem for themselves without him or her having to get involved. you could further assist the manager by conveying the view from the front line to the candidate. the need to attend. 17 Suggest you sit in on appropriate interviews Interviewing is a skill which most managers require. to the benefit of everyone concerned. Put forward the proposals which might resolve the issue. The pace of change in a particular Department of a business can mean that the present structure becomes outdated. Offer to manage the changes. Yet time should always be found for this activity. If acceptable. Remind your manager of this. composition of agenda (and hence its length) etc. Also seek suggestions from those involved as to how best to remedy the problems. and he or she may wish to play the suggestion upwards. a suggestion that you sit in and observe selected job interviews may be received positively. the meeting status politically. benefits to the Department and the company. Managers' and Directors' diaries are filled with activities which are mainly internal. Your manager is happy. because for sure your manager will.
If you have consultants in your organization.com or telephone +44 (0)870 450995 (Weekdays during UK business hours. consultancy companies provide a lower level of resources to undertake the assignment than the quality of the team fielded to win the work. and you can always be relied upon to bring to light areas which potentially don’t meet that criteria. • • • • You might choose to ignore all of the 100 Ways in this book. I would be pleased to receive any comments on the book. First of all. Their sphere of operation can be wide. Ask others who may be more closely involved than you. You might choose to wait for promotion opportunities to arise. You can email me at brian@workwinners. a sincere thank you for purchasing “100 Ways to Influence Your Boss”. You might choose to believe that your job is safe and secure. and for reading it right up to the end. I hope you have learned some things of real value. 60 . There may be company politics at play. If your request isn’t granted. it would be good self development for you. Also try and assess the quality of their work.to have someone want to observe him or her in action. the final few words. If granted. Sometimes. 18 Show how to save money on consultants External consultants are used by many organizations. He or she may seek a review of their performance quality. please).This kind of request would be flattering for the manager . you also have choices in your working life. You might choose to wait for something better to turn up. you’ve done your bit by showing you only want the best possible for your company. take them to your manager. 100 Ways to Influence Your Boss And finally… And now. You know that life is all about choices. If your findings merit it. you’ve still shown your ambition. Well. which you will be able to put into practice. Either way. your willingness to learn and your creativity in finding ways to assist your own development. make a point of getting to know them and finding out what they are doing.
join the 1% club. “Brian McGregor made a successful and cost effective contribution to the company and I would use his services again on other assignments. About the author …. Business Development Director. They will also be no safer in their job than they are today…… But I also know 1% will choose to make things happen. You can do it! Be positive Be different Get noticed Have confidence in your abilities Seek out and develop networks of contacts Don’t just follow the crowd Take responsibility for yourself……. Make it you . I would also be pleased to recommend him to prospective clients.” David Mahoney. AT&T 61 . And they will therefore miss out on the opportunity to create a better future for themselves..I know 99% of people will choose all of these.
” Alan Ball. British Nuclear Fuels Ltd “His experience coupled with his professional approach resulted in him making a most valuable contribution to our company. Barwick Systems Ltd “The work produced has been entirely satisfactory and to high quality standards. the public sector and small and medium sized businesses. I look forward to working with him again” Fred Stephen. IT Services.“I have found his input to be of significant value. and writes and speaks on these important elements of the modern workplace. Chairman and Managing Director. He has a wide range of personal experience in the dynamics of organizations. He has also owned and run companies. This has been gained through employment and in consultancy assignments in large companies.” Trevor Gillis. and would not hesitate to recommend his services to others. IT Services Manager Newcastle City Council Brian McGregor is a specialist in the areas of performance and effectiveness of staff and management at work. 62 . He provides consultancy services. New Business Director. I would have no hesitation in recommending his services to others.
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