[IMGCAP(1)] Intimidated by sharing your brilliance? Frightened to speak up to the older, more experienced partners in your firm? It’s understandable. Generational guru Rebecca Ryan of Next Generation Consulting is here to help.

Question:

Hey, Rebecca - I’m 34 years old and a new partner in my firm. I have some ideas for how our firm can really grow, but I’m not sure how to introduce my ideas without alienating the other partners. Two of my partners are over 65, but they have a lot of influence on the other partners. Please hurry with your answer; I feel like if we wait too long with my ideas, other firms will get ahead of us.

Signed, New Partner, New Ideas, New Hartford, Conn.

Answer:

Dear NPNW: First, congratulations on making partner! Welcome to endless meetings riddled with gridlock. (Joking, of course.)

Your question shows that you have respect for your partners, and are interested in how you can be most effective in your new role. This is a good start. Here are a few things to consider…
• Have you done all your research? If your ideas are simply something you dreamed up in the shower, and don’t have any market analysis or competitor research, then start there. Think like an attorney: you have to gather as much information as you can to make your case.
• Ask yourself if you’re the right person to present this to the partners. If you feel that you have enough credibility to present your idea on your own, proceed. If not, consider if there’s another partner who’ll meet with you to talk about your idea, and then help you present it to the partners.
• Either way, impress on your partners the urgency behind your request. We’re in an economic environment where good ideas for new markets and niches have a real chance to succeed.

Good luck!