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How to Make Suggestions Count

January 12, 2000
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An important aspect of initiative that any employee can put into practice is making suggestions. Every employer wants and needs employees who can spot problem areas and suggest improvements in a sincere, constructive manner. Here are some tips on how to maximize effectiveness in making suggestions at work:

  • Start in your own area. You can best impact the area you know the most about. In your current job, look for ways to save money, improve service, or streamline processes. Experiment as necessary to test your ideas.
  • Have a plan for implementation. Suggestions can sound like complaints if three is no plan for their implementation. Think through the costs and benefits of your idea and how you can make—or initiative—the desired change. Document your suggestion and share it with others.

    Consider who else would need to be involved to implement the suggestion and seek the input, involvement, and approval of those individuals as soon as possible. Own your ideas: to see them to fruition, volunteer to do those aspects of the suggestion that you're able to implement. Learn how to sell your ideas to others.
  • Develop a mind-set for making suggestions. Think about potential improvements during transition times, such as when you commute to work. Try to develop at least two ideas per week that you can submit or share with others. Carry a notepad and pen or pencil with you to jot down ideas.
  • Support and build on other people's suggestions. By supporting other people's ideas, you'll develop good will and alliances that can be beneficial when you need help and support.

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