I recently produced a video on this subject and wanted to elaborate more. So, I wrote this article.
We have all been in a situation where time is quickly eating up all our good intentions. Over the last few years I have spoken with thought leaders from different industries, have read many blogs, watched videos with messages completely outside my core industry, and most importantly I continue to look in new places where the rewards of learning the once unknown seem abundant.
As we get consumed by the commonality around us, we must have escape routes. The demands on executives today can easily cripple the ability to discover the unknown. Many leaders are finding themselves stuck in commonality and end up on the path called complacency.
Complacency's path can fool one into believing they have all they need to improve. However, it's not improvement that's needed during innovative times, it's a re-invention and that will require learning what they still don't know.
"During innovation those who take the time to look where others do not will discover what was ignored by those left behind."
It seems that the preconceived results get in the way of searching for new outcomes. Many can't look past what's in front of them or attempt to paint over what looks different with the paint of sameness. The reason for this is simple most executives see exploring the unknown as counterproductive to delivering the known, and when this happens competitors will seize the moment.
Today's leaders must find the time to explore and must not limit this exploration time to leftover hours when the status quo has a small opening. Everyone has time to regurgitate what they already know and very few schedule time to discover what they don't know and end up missing what could have been.
Outsiders are completely disrupting industries because the insiders keep their doors locked and continue doing what they always did. My friends in the Imaging Channel, Office Supply Resellers Channel, or Managed IT Services Channel - what are you doing to open up the locked doors of complacency?
Some Questions to ask yourself
How are you as a leader and the organization you lead exploring the unknown?
Are you engaging outsiders to learn, are you asking your customers questions about them in hopes of learning something different? Even if that knowledge threatens your business relationship? or are you limiting your questions in order to sell them more of what you currently sell?
Do you ever communicate professionally with a competitor in search of synergies?
When was the last time you scheduled a dedicated time to explore with no preconceived agenda?
When was the last time you interviewed someone who was not in your industry, or their expertise was in another area than the one you were hiring for?
When was the last time you meet with rank and file and let them control the meeting in search of something different?
Have you ever invited customers from different verticals to the same meeting to collaborate searching of the unknown?
So, now I ask this, what questions can you think of to help in your innovative journey?
These innovating times will take innovative thinking to learn ways in which to navigate back from the future. Don't pigeonhole yourself to what you think you know. Instead take the time to evict from your mind what you know and use the vacancy to discover what those complacent competitors are missing.
"Status quo is the killer of all that will be invented don't get stuck in status quo."
Thanks my friends, share if you agree debate me if you don't and I welcome you to connect.
Ray Stasieczko - CEO/TEASRA, The Innovation Channel
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