You’ve got a great idea that you believe will change something for the better. Maybe it’s the network, or maybe it’s the way the company hires and interviews people, but you know it’s worth doing. The problem is that you can’t get anyone in management to listen to you. In your mind, they’re all idiots. In their minds, you’re wasting their time. Who’s right? You both are.
Good managers want to know what you’re thinking and will listen to you. If your idea does not have merit, they will give you meaningful feedback and help you refine it. Other managers worry only about rocking the boat and will not entertain any notion that upsets the status quo. If your manager is of the second type, you can either work to convince him that change is good (at least, as it pertains to your idea) or bypass him altogether. In the latter case, my advice is to ask permission, or at least inform your boss, if you plan to go over his head. No one likes to be blindsided. If you sneak around, you’ll only make an enemy.
Engineers are full of great ideas. Making things better is what we’re built to do. However, when it comes to engineers, there seems to be an inverse relationship between great ideas and great communication skills. This is what gets us into trouble.
While sitting in a meeting, I once got everyone’s attention by announcing that the entire network was about to fail. We were paying out millions in penalties for service-level agreements that we were not meeting. ...