Risk & Business Magazine General Insurance Services - Fall 2020 - Page 9

LEADER'S JOURNEY 5 TIPS FOR ACCELERATING A LEADER’S JOURNEY FROM KNOWER TO LEARNER 1. USE 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– be it 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 fastpaced 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 Outliers 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 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 MappingSM workshops and delivers educational presentations on Lean Principles. VSS is currently focused on delivering value to the owners of business at 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. GrowthInstitute.com 9