How Big is Your World?

In Great Leaders GROW, Ken Blanchard and I outline four strategies to help leaders grow. The third of these is Open Your World. The metaphor I often use to explain why this is so important for leaders is that of an artist putting paint on a palette. You can only use the paint after it's on your palette. As we expand our world, we are putting more on our leadership palette. Only then can we create the masterpiece our vision demands.

Yes, but how? How can you and I Open Our World? First, we need to think about this in two arenas – both at work and outside of work. The good news is that although the activities may be different in these two arenas, we paint from only one palette. ALL of our experiences, activities, and relationships will help us lead at a higher level.
Here are some ideas to consider to Open Your World at work…

  • Shadow someone from another department or team
  • Work at a client’s facility for a day—or longer
  • Listen in on customer calls
  • Travel with senior leaders from the company
  • Have lunch with someone from another department at least once a week
  • Serve on a cross-functional team
  • Begin collecting best practices from top performers
  • Interview recent retirees and seek their counsel on current issues
  • Find a mentor (formal or informal) from another department
  • Lead anything you can—project team, ad hoc group, work group, fund raising campaign, corporate fitness effort, department meeting, corporate blood drive, continuous improvement team, or Christmas party. Chances are good you’ll learn more by leading than anything else.

Here are some ideas to Open Your World outside of work…

  • Travel
  • Volunteer
  • Find a new hobby
  • Learn a foreign language
  • Spend time with interesting people
  • Read widely
  • Do home projects—outside your comfort zone
  • Find a mentor from a field unrelated to your own
  • Enjoy the arts—museums, plays, concerts
  • Stretch yourself with adventure experiences—skydiving, white water rafting, scuba diving, mountain climbing, hot air balloon rides, etc.

We live in a big world – the best leaders seem to know that. Make the most of it and reap the benefits both short term and for decades to come. How big is your world?

What can you do in the next 30 days to Open Your World?

Leave a comment

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Larry Cox

11 years ago

Great Blog, Mark. Especially enjoyed the post today. Lots of challenging actions to "open my world." Hey, what language are you learning?


11 years ago

Thank you Larry, I appreciate you're taking time to comment and am so glad the post was helpful!

D. Biegler

11 years ago

Your four tips are helpful, especially to public school instructors, who are frequently serving from 6:00 am to 8:00 pm. Your tips are being utilized, on a daily basis, by most public school instructors. It would help all of us to see there are others who think and act like the majority of public school instructors. We don't choose the material coming in our school doors and that material, today is flawed badly as a result of, typically. no ongoing parental involvement. The parents seem to think that simply seeing their child gets to school is all they need to do, the rest is up to the instructor. I have been wondering just when all teachers would receive the notification that they needed to line up at the door to the maternity ward and become the parent of the 15 babies assigned to them to raise, instill a love of learning, manners, and other values, then return the 18 year old graduating senior to the parents. Although, these few sentences may not seem relevant to your book-it's your book that offers some insight into a different future-we'll see what happens!!!!


11 years ago

Thank you Dale, I appreciate public school teachers and the job they do and your comment on this post!


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