Donna's blog on coaching, leadership, and life

Proposing a solution at work? The more details you provide, the better.

I thought about only publishing the title of this post, because it says it all. But I’ll offer just a couple of examples and you can take it from there. I’m sure many of you have influenced a decision based on your contributions to a recommended solution. I hope you’ll choose to share them here.

On to my examples . . .

Maybe you’ve decided to speak up about how inefficient a clunky software system is to your work process. Or, you’re finally going to speak up about the unfair distribution of work among your team on a current project.

In the first example, seemingly the solution would be to purchase a new software system. Yet, without the details of what purchasing and integrating a new system might entail, and how you’ll personally support it, you’re simply handing over a boatload of work to someone who probably won’t have either the time or passion to act on it. Could you offer to meet with stakeholders, vendors or IT specialists? Could you help to explore costs, crunch numbers, or run a report? Can you anticipate timelines and their impact on production?

In the second example, clearly you hope for the re-distribution of work among your team. And, you may be thinking it’s the team lead’s responsibility to do that. Yet, bringing the idea of re-distribution of responsibilities to your team lead may go nowhere. Again, you may have a fair shot if you present your documented recommendations as to how this will happen, and how you are personally willing to contribute to or participate in the solution.

Both scenarios demonstrate similar dynamics. Bring what you want to ultimately happen to the table and chances are you will fall short of results. Bring documented and detailed recommendations about how to get there, and your chances of influencing towards positive results will increase.

Here’s the good news. If you’re thinking about proposing a new idea or strategy at work, unless your role and responsibilities clearly call for coming up with that strategy, you don’t have to. But if you want to influence a decision and action towards a solution—and you decide to go for it—the more details you include, the better!


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