“I can’t get my projects past the directors. They ignore my emails, or don’t show up at meetings where I present my ideas. My career is stuck in neutral.”
My client was describing a common problem in companies. Decision-makers find it easier to ignore ideas rather than determine how to prioritize them.
I proposed that my client resolve her problem with my second suggestion for PCPW/OLYS: deepen your relationships with decision-makers and influencers.
You have many choices here. I suggest you choose the path(s) that you will find easiest to sustain over time – consistency is essential.
- Set up a recurring lunch or coffee date with your decision-makers and influencers.
- If these meetings get postponed, keep setting up new ones. It may take three cancellations before you meet the person in person.
- Keep D-M and I’s updated on your current projects. Do not rely on your manager to promote your accomplishments.
- Send your D-M and I’s articles and ideas that you think they will appreciate.
- Ask to be invited to their meetings, so you can understand their struggles and roadblocks. If you see an opportunity to help, follow up with them later.
- Offer to meet with a D-M or I occasionally to give them insight about your corner of the world. When they are two or three levels above you, they benefit from hearing from a contributor, rather than reading a synopsis from a manager.
- When you see a D-M or I on a meeting request or email chain, contact them personally. Say you want to understand their role better, and set up a coffee date. You can meet almost anyone who has influence in your world this way.
- Remember, you are the one who wants to change the norm, so you have to make these moves.
As for my client, she took my advice to heart. She began having lunch with different people every day. She kept it up for three months straight. By then, the directors who had been ignoring her were listening to her and approving her ideas. They even rescheduled their monthly lunches with her when they had to postpone!