The desire to lead breakthrough change is strong in most of us. Disruptive ideas come frequently, they are unique to each person and there is nothing that feels better than to launch and help execute an initiative based on your own idea. The problem is that only a small minority in the workforce are rock stars, and that means most of these ideas will never come to fruition.
When you outperform your peers in your organization, however, you have the credibility with management to lead disruptive change. The areas of improvement that you identify are treated with respect because everyone knows you are trying to make the organization better. If you are an average or poor performer, however, your identified areas of improvement are seen as excuses for your bad performance.
And this is not just a perception on their part; it’s likely true.
If you are in sales and not hitting your numbers, no one listens to your thoughts on improving the sales support or sales engineering processes. Why would they? You can’t sell. Your peer who is crushing his quota? His ideas for change are welcomed and have a high probability of implementation.
This applies to every job, everywhere. A barista who receives the most complaints for poorly made cappuccinos has no credibility if he complains about the espresso machine’s glitchy auto-settings. This is excuse-making. The top barista, however, can make the same assessment and it is leadership.
So keep in mind your status among your peers. If you are not at the top or you are new, it is not the time to be disruptive. Your first step is to be the best at what you do.