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How can you shift from simply trying to keep your job to rising the ranks ahead of the pack? By taking a risk and challenging the status quo with new ideas that you are confident can succeed, you have a better shot.

A recent Wall Street Journal article highlighted three individuals who did just that, and then they made their innovative thinking into a reality.  Indeed, according to the article, “each took a novel approach that resulted in unexpected benefits for their employers – and new, prominent roles for themselves.” So what did they do?

1. Matthew Zubiller was the mastermind behind a risky high-tech startup venture within the company he worked for, McKesson. He was confident that his idea would revolutionize the company’s operations, and he succeeded in making his vision into a reality.

2. Kori Reed extensively researched child hunger in order to transform her cause into a successful marketing tool for ConAgra.

3. Pam Rogers Klyn cut Whirlpool’s costs in innovative ways by eliminating bureaucracy, training individual employees in simple cost-cutting techniques, and tying bonuses to specific performance goals.

In order to succeed, the Wall Street Journal tells us that these employees “overcame multiple challenges. They secured funding, won support from the skeptical top brass and practiced diplomatic persistence.” All three were confident in their ability to create change successfully.

How can you go about challenging the status quo in your workplace?

1. Think outside the box.

Clear your head and approach old problems from a new direction. Let all of your ideas come out in a brainstorming session. Don’t censor yourself in this initial session – just let all of the ideas flow onto the paper or onto your computer screen, no matter how outlandish they might seem at first. Could you incorporate new technology, philanthropic thinking, or new cost-cutting measures into your solution, like these other success stories? What other directions could your innovative thinking take?

2. Think more broadly.

Don’t limit yourself to solutions that can only be found in one department or in one school of thought. Don’t limit yourself to solutions that would fit within the existing divisional framework of your company. Broad-spectrum thinking may be the ticket to challenging the status quo and thinking your way out of a stick situation. Come up with an idea, find internal and external support, and have confidence in your ability to transform your innovative thinking into reality.

How do you challenge the status quo?

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Rise to the Top by Challenging the Status Quo

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