How to Present a Disruptive Idea to Your Organization
September 13, 2019
It is human nature to resist change. Change often represents the unknown, raising questions and concerns about what the future holds. Resistance in large organizations may be even greater where preconceived notions and a longstanding loyalty to the status quo cloud the benefits of innovation.
Read more about the different ways to react to disruptive change in your industry in our blog, Be a Change Navigator.
“In general, change within an organization is difficult, and even more so in an industry that uses the same persisting practices and methodology as they did forty years ago,” says Breakthrough’s ’Vice President of Go To Market Matt Balzola.
FIRST STEPS AND FIRST IMPRESSIONS
Hearing a new idea for the first time can be overwhelming.
“The key is making sure everyone understands there is a problem that needs to be fixed,” Balzola explains. “That’s why we help prospective clients make their organization aware of existing challenges in the marketplace.”
Identifying the problem means bringing up pain points. In the case of fuel management, it’s the simple fact that the cost of fuel has not been effectively managed.
“We walk our clients through an explanation of how they are managing fuel today, and then present what an ideal state of fuel management would look like,” Balzola says.
But times have changed.
“New technologies in transportation are coming out all the time,” Balzola says. “and Breakthrough solutions are no different. We develop emerging technologies that help shippers manage fuel costs.”
KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE
Introducing change in an organization will require you to present concepts to people at different levels and with distinct concerns and expectations. It’s crucial that you understand who you’re talking to and what they care about most.
“When you’re dealing with the group responsible for the relevant daily operations, you’ll need to spend more time explaining the technical details, how it will enhance their work, and perhaps make their jobs easier,” says Balzola.
Another consideration is that change may be viewed as a threat to some in your organization. They may feel a solution shines the spotlight on a problem that should have been addressed sooner. Present your ideas in a way that avoids making anyone feel as if they’re being thrown under the bus.
“We focus on the fact that technology changes,” Balzola says. “It’s not necessarily that an individual was doing the wrong thing or ignoring a solution, it’s the fact that these options weren’t available to them until now.”
Until Breakthrough arrived, managing this cost was out of scope due to a lack of transparency in shippers’ data.
“Most transportation professionals focus on managing the other large portion of transportation costs, which is the linehaul side of things,” says Balzola. “Now, we have an opportunity to focus on fuel and add more advanced strategies that weren’t available to shippers before.”
MAKE YOUR CASE BY PROVIDING PROOF
As consideration of your idea moves up the chain of command, you’ll likely feel pressure to be more persuasive. Instead of technical details, Balzola thinks it’s wise to focus on the big picture.
“When you start talking with higher-level management it can become a much easier sell,” he explains. “If you present a solution with a proven return on investment that helps meet specific goals, you’re unlikely to receive much negative feedback.”
Proving the potential ROI of a big idea will be much easier if it has already been tested in the marketplace, with data to back it up. It all boils down to the money, eventually. That’s why Balzola stresses cementing the financial value of the solution you want to be implemented.
“Whenever you’re selling a big idea, the most important thing people want to understand is, ‘What’s my cost and what’s my return?’” he says. “Good procurement teams focus on what’s driving costs and how a solution helps them better manage those costs. You can’t improve what you can’t measure.”
Drive Change for Your Organization
Ushering in changes that positively disrupt your business and processes isn’t always easy. But when you know of industry best practices that will benefit your team and organization, it’s important to bring them to the forefront.
With the right partners and a thoughtful strategy, transitioning to new solutions can be seamless and lucrative for your team, your career, and ultimately your organization’s success.
Information updated from the original post date 1/29/2018.