LEADER ' S JOURNEY
5 TIPS FOR ACCELERATING A LEADER ’ S JOURNEY
FROM KNOWER TO LEARNER
1USE THE POWER OF THE
PAUSE IN THOUGHT AND IN CONVERSATION . As discussed in Out of the Question , How Curious Leaders Win : using the power of the pause , whether for a minute or 24 hours , provides time for deeper reflection on the issue , allowing you to listen to your intuition and then respond with better and broader impact . Necessary for anyone in today ’ s fast-paced world , a pause in one ’ s day , or even just in ( especially in ) important conversation provides the needed breathing room for reflection and intentional action .
2 . REFLECT , INSPECT AND EXPECT . Consider this framework : reflecting is focused on the past ; inspecting is focused on the current situation ; and expecting is thinking on the outcomes we are going to achieve together . By preparing to engage on a topic using this framework , we find the likelihood of exploring novel solutions is expanded . Together , in a creative and open minded way , you built your understanding of the history and key assumptions and ask all the questions you can about the current situation , which is how you arrive at a new place together .
3 . DURING THE PAUSE , CAREFULLY EVALUATE . How urgent is this ? Are we sure we understand the entire situation ? Think through goals before speaking or acting , and determine your desired outcome before telling people how to get things done . Think about the kind of questions you could ask your team to make them owners of the solutions . Look at the team / people working , and make sure you have the right people in place . Have you brought in the full set of people whose feelings and impressions need to be considered ?
4 . START SMALL , AND PRACTICE . One action to become a Learner Leader that we learned from the book Multipliers by Liz Wiseman is the following simple trick : start the day with five pennies in your left pants pocket . Whenever you give a directive , as opposed to asking an open question based on genuine curiosity , or whenever you start telling people what to do , move one penny to your right pocket . See how far into the day you can get before you have an empty left pocket ! The goal here is to be aware of our “ command and control ” behaviors and shift towards the Learner Leader mindset .
5 . TRY ASKING A FEW QUESTIONS WITH NO KNOWN OR ASSUMED ANSWER . As leaders , asking questions without any concept of a solution or answer is an intimidating hurdle . We often fall back to the safety net of asking questions where we feel we can provide guidance or have a preconceived notion of what we are expecting to happen . Asking a question like “ why do you think our customers delay in making their purchase ?" or “ how could we change the way our customers view our product " – without a desired outcome , but a genuine interest and value in the answers your team comes up with is a powerful exercise . Take the brave step of preparing in advance a careful question that has no predetermined answer , and see how the team responds . +
Guy C . Parsons is the founder of Value Stream Solutions ( VSS ). VSS provides Lean Business System consulting . Guy leads Value Stream Mapping SM workshops and delivers educational presentations on Lean Principles . VSS is currently focused on delivering value to the owners of businesses of all sizes , from a $ 20MM privately held aircraft manufacturer to public corporations such as Starbucks and Johnson & Johnson .
Guy received a BA in Economics and Computer Science from Connecticut College . He received an MBA from Harvard University , with a focus on manufacturing strategy and technology implementation . Guy has been a guest lecturer at MIT and Harvard Business School .
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