Question: I suggested a great idea, but the initiative was given to my co-worker. They ended up getting all the accolades, even though I was more than qualified to lead this particular project. How can I get credit for my ideas?
Jo Miller answers:
Don’t just pitch your ideas – pitch proposals, and remember to pitch yourself, too!
Ideas alone are not enough. Too often I hear women describe how they suggested a great idea, but were overlooked and the initiative was given to someone else to lead. Did that other person really “steal” the idea? If you forget to pitch yourself as the person to lead the initiative, then someone else may reasonably assume the idea is up for grabs and run with it.
There are two additional steps to help you turn an idea into an opportunity for yourself.
Step 1: Pitch Your Proposal
My advice is to go beyond just suggesting ideas, and put forward proposals. If you are ready to take on a bigger leadership role, then make proposals — often. Make a habit of frequently putting forward your ideas, solutions, or value-add on projects, while not getting too attached to any particular idea. This is how you build a reputation as a strategic thinker and problem-solver.
Get used to finishing every idea or suggestion with a proposal: “My proposal is that we… a, b, c (stating your proposed course of action).”
Step 2: Pitch Yourself
When you put forward an idea or a proposal, it’s important to add that you are the ideal person to lead the charge. Complete every proposal by stating why you are the best person for the job: “I am uniquely qualified to lead this initiative because… a, b, c (stating your qualifications).”
Then, close the sale: “What are our next steps to move forward?”
Jo Miller is CEO of Women’s Leadership Coaching Inc. Through leadership workshops, coaching programs and webinars, Jo helps women create their roadmap into leadership positions in business.