Managing yourself creatively

Speak Up

It’s the most direct way to bring your achievements – and yourself – to the attention of those whose esteem and approval you seek. Know a way to reduce costs? Tell your boss. Learning a special skill? Let your superior know. Landed a big account? Mention it to your next prospect.

There are at least four kinds of opportunities for “speaking up”.


Information has a way of “percolating” upward and out. In your day-to- day contacts, you undoubtedly talk to some people who, in turn, pass along part of what you say in their day-to-day contacts. Since you never can tell where this “chain of talk” will end, forge as many “links” as possible. If, for example, you think you know how time- consuming form can be restyled and streamlined, mention the fact to your colleagues, without going into details (after all, you want the credit for your idea). Sooner or later, the man to whom you report will say, “Tell me about your brainstorm”. The opportunities for sowing these conversational seeds around are at lunch, during coffee breaks, traveling to and from work, and on the job.


Every good idea is, at some stage, the result of one or more questions. Why are all reports filed in quadruplicate? What would happen if a certain process or procedure was done differently? Or eliminated altogether? Why is sometimes our laboratory data do not match with field? Before you can answer such questions, in all probability you will have to ask additional questions. Ask them! The act alone will point up your desire to find better ways. But bear in mind that questions should have a reason for being; do not ask them just for the sake of making an impression, lest you earn a reputation for being a pest or a “phony.”


There is a continuing demand for knowledgeable guest speakers by a wide variety of organizations such as business clubs, professional societies, trade associations, fraternal groups, civic committees, and so on. If you have something of value or interest to say, or are an expert on a particular subject, there is always audience for you. Let your availability be known by informing your boss or your company’s public relations department; the officers of whatever organization you would like to address; members of various groups; friends; neighbors; relatives.


There was a time when it was unthinkable for an employee, regardless of his title, to tell his superior what was on his mind. Fortunately, things have changed. Business and industry now recognize the importance of communications up as well as down the line. Consequently, most doors are kept open to employees. Particularly welcome in these days of tough competition, rising costs, and tight labor markets are ideas. If you have one that you think deserves serious consideration, ask for an appointment with the man in charge of the department or division involved. Almost certainly, you will get a cordial hearing, and recognition.