No organization is perfect. Every business has room for improvement. Even the best companies have to constantly reinvent themselves in order to stay ahead within a rapidly changing marketplace.
Business professional who care about their organization’s success must identify key steps to effectively manage change. Whether the matter is a problem to be solved or a proactive initiative to keep the business on the cutting edge, the best approach is to take ownership.
Senior leaders hire employees to solve problems. Employees do not exist in the organization so that they can delegate tasks and problems for the boss to handle. Sometimes an employee will be able to identify a problem that needs solved or an initiative to pursue, but the challenge becomes presenting an effective business case that gets to the root of the matter, initiatives a path forward, and assigns authority to the appropriate parties.
If there is a hole in my roof it does no good for me to say, “Someone needs to fix that hole in the roof. I hope someone comes along soon before it rains, or else we’re all going to get wet.” Rather, I must identify a solution: Either I can obtain the needed supplies, get up on the roof, and get my hands dirty; or I can identify and pay a competent repair person to do this for me.
In the same way, when an employee sees a “hole in the roof” within the business, it does no good to tell the boss that the problem needs solved and leave it at that. Absent a solutions-oriented approach, this only provides the employee with a reputation of being negative or a nag. Rather, the employee should lay out the problem, provide well-research options for potential solutions, and then ask for the boss to sign-off on pursuing the most feasible solution. This process can take time in soliciting input, but the boss needs to know all along that the employee fully intends to take ownership and handle the matter to completion.
The final proposal to solve the problem and drive change might involve spending time, money, or other resources. Whatever it means, the employees must take initiative and own the matter through to completion. Managers will appreciate and start relying upon those rare employees who do not try to pass the monkey onto the boss’s back.