In Great Leaders GROW, Ken Blanchard and I outlined four strategies for leadership growth. I’ve always believed that each of the strategies adds huge value and recommend a healthy diet of all four. However, for me, Open Your World is the most fun – to stay with the diet metaphor – it represents the dessert.
As you know, our leadership is a composite of many factors: our background, our experiences, our skills, our character, our relationships, our personality, etc. Some of these things we control, some we do not. One of the things we can affect is the way we approach our world. Do we live in a small world or a large one? Here are 7 ideas to Open Your World.
1. Read widely – For me, this is very powerful and a struggle. When I do it – I grow. The challenge is my backlog of leadership reading. One way I approach this is through abstracts and summaries. One of my favorites right now is Smartbriefs.com. The more widely I read, the better I lead.
2. Travel – I know this is not possible for everyone. Personal constraints, financial constraints, family and job issues can limit our options; I get it. However, travel has life altering and leadership altering potential. Travel as much as possible; your view of the world will expand.
3. Experience other cultures – Don’t assume this is about travel; it can be, but not necessarily. I’ve been to other countries, but missed their culture entirely. How is that possible? I visited people and places very similar to my hometown even though I was half way around the world. Also, don’t miss the opportunity to experience different cultures near your home. If you don’t think this is possible, visit your local homeless shelter.
4. Ask more questions – Great questions can take you places you’ve never been. Do you have favorite questions you ask? If you had 15 minutes with a leader you admire, what would ask her? Ask more questions…you and your world will grow.
5. Try a new hobby – Think about the last time you started a new hobby. I’m guessing you learned a lot. Your world got bigger in a hurry. What have you always wanted to try? Maybe it’s time for a new hobby.
6. Vary your routine – Do you drive to work the same route every day? Do you take your vacation at the same place every year? What would happen if you intentionally added some variety to your schedule? You may find the world is bigger than you think.
7. Seek out experts – Who are the thought leaders in your field? Do you know them? Could you find a way to meet them? I was at TED a few years ago and was delighted to hear a presentation by Edward DeBono, the creativity expert. After his talk, I asked him if I could buy him a meal. He said yes! Seek out experts. They’ll help you grow!
As we open our world, we can turbo charge our growth and our leadership. Enjoy the journey![GLS_Shield]
What do you do to open your world?