One of my favorite expressions is “If you hate it, change it.”
Anyway, it’s a great quote and an even better frame of mind.
I tell new hires who are exposed to the slowness of large companies to start small; proving your method is better but plan on having to provide a lot of proof. Large companies often have large histories and aren’t easy to change.
However, the one thing that large companies hate more than change is losing money. Which is why, if you have a demonstrate-ably better method, product, service or whatever, you can affect change.
One of the best books I’ve read is The 4-Hour Workweek. One of the major ideals the book champions is asking for forgiveness over asking for permission.
I totally agree. (Of course, don’t do something unethical or or illegal. Ever. And especially without asking.)
Most likely, you’ll have to do the work at home or stay late; often for a long time to see the change you want implemented.
This is because you’ll still have to do your normal work and do it within your company’s existing framework. In fact, you may have duplicate the work: Your way vs. the company way.
Even when your way wins, don’t expect adoption. You’ll hear a lot of “Well, if that works for you.” That’s fine. If your way is better, someone will follow. Then someone else. Then someone else.
Last time we talked about branding yourself with consistency. And you’ll need that here, too, because change is long and hard.
That said, if you begin to brand yourself as a change agent, others will begin to look to you as a leader and follow you more readily.
Finally, some quick tips as you start to evolve your company:
- Don’t brag about your methodology or product. If it’s better, you’ll find an advocate.
- At the same time, be readily available to explain and teach someone who is interested in what you’ve done
- Document what you’ve done. This will make it easier for others to learn what you’ve done and for the company to make it a policy
- Don’t argue. You’ll run into process zealots who have been at the company a long time. Do not tell them their way is inefficient and, if they confront you about your way, let them have their say and let it go.
- In fact, if you can find a way to explain how the old way helped you come up with the new way, that’s a best-case scenario because you can give credit to your peers.
Cody is a Product Manager at ESPN. He manages, conceptualizes and develops many of the social aspects of ESPN.com. He also is Found and CEO for Gunner Technology, Inc an end-to-end Web strategy company, providing solutions for small businesses.