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